Estimation of Melting-Layer Cooling Rate from Dual-Polarization Radar: Spectral Bin Model Simulations
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Estimation of Melting-Layer Cooling Rate from Dual-Polarization Radar: Spectral Bin Model Simulations
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    J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol. (2019) 58 (7): 1485–1508.
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  • Description:
    Diabatic cooling from hydrometeor phase changes in the stratiform melting layer is of great interest to both operational forecasters and modelers for its societal and dynamical consequences. Attempts to estimate the melting-layer cooling rate typically rely on either the budgeting of hydrometeor content estimated from reflectivity Z or model-generated lookup tables scaled by the magnitude of Z in the bright band. Recent advances have been made in developing methods to observe the unique polarimetric characteristics of melting snow and the additional microphysical information they may contain. However, to date no work has looked at the thermodynamic information available from the polarimetric radar brightband signature. In this study, a one-dimensional spectral bin model of melting snow and a coupled polarimetric operator are used to study the relation between the polarimetric radar bright band and the melting-layer cooling rate. Simulations using a fixed particle size distribution (PSD) and variable environmental conditions show that the height and thickness of the bright band and the maximum brightband Z and specific differential phase shift KDP are all sensitive to the ambient environment, while the differential reflectivity ZDR is relatively insensitive. Additional simulations of 2700 PSDs based on in situ observations above the melting layer indicate that the maximum Z, ΔZ⁠, and ZDR within the melting layer are poorly correlated with the maximum cooling rate while KDP is strongly correlated. Finally, model simulations suggest that, in addition to riming, concurrent changes in aggregation and precipitation intensity and the associated cooling may plausibly cause observed sagging brightband signatures.
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