Backscatter differential phase-estimation and variability

Silke Trömel, Matthew R. Kumjian, Alexander V. Ryzhkov, Clemens Simmer, Malte Diederich

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47 Scopus citations


On the basis of simulations and observations made with polarimetric radars operating at X, C, and S bands, the backscatter differential phase δ has been explored; δ has been identified as an important polarimetric variable that should not be ignored in precipitation estimations that are based on specific differential phase KDP, especially at shorter radar wavelengths. Moreover, δ bears important information about the dominant size of raindrops and wet snowflakes in the melting layer. New methods for estimating δ in rain and in the melting layer are suggested. The method for estimating δ in rain is based on a modified version of the "ZPHI" algorithm and provides reasonably robust estimates of δ and KDP in pure rain except in regions where the total measured differential phase FDP behaves erratically, such as areas affected by nonuniform beam filling or low signal-to-noise ratio. The method for estimating δ in the melting layer results in reliable estimates of δ in stratiform precipitation and requires azimuthal averaging of radial profiles of φDR at high antenna elevations. Comparisons with large disdrometer datasets collected in Oklahoma and Germany confirm a strong interdependence between δ and differential reflectivity ZDR. Because δ is immune to attenuation, partial beam blockage, and radar miscalibration, the strong correlation between ZDR and δ is of interest for quantitative precipitation estimation: δ and ZDR are differently affected by the particle size distribution (PSD) and thus may complement each other for PSD moment estimation. Furthermore, the magnitude of δ can be utilized as an important calibration parameter for improving microphysical models of the melting layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2529-2548
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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