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A Polarimetric Radar Analysis of Ice Microphysical Processes in Melting Layers of Winter Storms Using S-Band Quasi-Vertical Profiles
  • Published Date:
  • Source:
    J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol. (2020) 59 (4): 751–767.
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  • Description:
    Quasi-vertical profiles (QVPs) obtained from a database of U.S. WSR-88D data are used to document polarimetric characteristics of the melting layer (ML) in cold-season storms with high vertical resolution and accuracy. A polarimetric technique to define the top and bottom of the ML is first introduced. Using the QVPs, statistical relationships are developed to gain insight into the evolution of microphysical processes above, within, and below the ML, leading to a statistical polarimetric model of the ML that reveals characteristics that reflectivity data alone are not able to provide, particularly in regions of weak reflectivity factor at horizontal polarization ZH. QVP ML statistics are examined for two regimes in the ML data: ZH ≥ 20 dBZ and ZH < 20 dBZ. Regions of ZH ≥ 20 dBZ indicate locations of MLs collocated with enhanced differential reflectivity ZDR and reduced copolar correlation coefficient ρhv, while for ZH < 20 dBZ a well-defined ML is difficult to discern using ZH alone. Evidence of large ZDR up to 4 dB, backscatter differential phase δ up to 8°, and low ρhv down to 0.80 associated with lower ZH (from −10 to 20 dBZ) in the ML is observed when pristine, nonaggregated ice falls through it. Positive correlation is documented between maximum specific differential phase KDP and maximum ZH in the ML; these are the first QVP observations of KDP in MLs documented at S band. Negative correlation occurs between minimum ρhv in the ML and ML depth and between minimum ρhv in the ML and the corresponding enhancement of ZH (ΔZH = ZHmax − ZHrain).
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