Polarimetric Signatures of Midlatitude Warm-Rain Precipitation Events
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Polarimetric Signatures of Midlatitude Warm-Rain Precipitation Events

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  • Description:
    Precipitation events in which rainfall is generated primarily below the freezing level via warm-rain processes have traditionally presented a significant challenge for radar and satellite quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) algorithms. It is possible to improve QPE in warm-rain events if they are correctly identified/classified as warm rain prior to precipitation estimation. Additionally, it is anticipated that classification schemes incorporating polarimetric radar data will be able to leverage precipitation microphysical information to better identify warm-rain precipitation events. This study lays the groundwork for the development of a polarimetric warm-rain classification algorithm by documenting the typical three-dimensional polarimetric characteristics associated with midlatitude warm-rain precipitation events. These characteristics are then compared with those observed in non-warm-rain events. Nearly all warm-rain precipitation events were characterized by lower median values of Z, ZDR, and KDP relative to the non-warm-rain convective cases. Furthermore, droplet coalescence was determined to be the dominant microphysical process in the majority of warm-rain events, while in non-warm-rain stratiform events, evaporation and breakup appeared to be the dominant (warm) microphysical processes. Most warm-rain events were also associated with sharp decreases in reflectivity, with height above the freezing level coincident with low echo-top heights and freezing-level ZDR values near 0, indicating limited ice- and mixed-phase precipitation growth processes. These results support the feasibility of a future polarimetric warm-rain identification algorithm.
  • Source:
    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56(3), 697-711
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