Direct comparisons between GPM-DPR and CloudSat snowfall retrievals.
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Direct comparisons between GPM-DPR and CloudSat snowfall retrievals.

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
  • Description:
    Two spaceborne radars currently in orbit enable the sampling of snowfall near the surface and throughout the atmospheric column, namely, CloudSat’s Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) and the Global Precipitation Measurement mission’s Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (GPM-DPR). In this paper, a direct comparison of the CPR’s 2C-SNOW-PROFILE (2CSP), the operational GPM-DPR algorithm (2ADPR) and a neural network (NN) retrieval applied to the GPM-DPR data is performed using coincident observations between both radars. Examination of over 3500 profiles within moderate to strong precipitation (Ka band ≥ 18 dBZ) show that the NN retrieval provides the closest retrieval of liquid equivalent precipitation rate R immediately above the melting level to the R retrieved just below the melting layer, agreeing within 5%. Meanwhile, 2CSP retrieves a maximum value of R at −15°C, decreases by 35% just above the melting layer, and is about 50% smaller than the GPM-DPR retrieved R below the melting layer. CPR-measured reflectivity shows median reduction of 2–3 dB from −15° to −2.5°C, likely the reason for the 2CSP retrieval reduction of R. Two case studies from NASA field campaigns [i.e., Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) and Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS)] provide analogs to the type of precipitating systems found in the comparison between retrieval products. For the snowfall events that GPM-DPR can observe, this work suggests that the 2CSP retrieval is likely underestimating the unattenuated reflectivity, resulting in a potential negative, or low, bias in R. Future work should investigate how frequently the underestimated reflectivity profiles occur within the CPR record and quantify its potential effects on global snowfall accumulation estimation.
  • Source:
    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 61(9), 1257-1271
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