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Journal Article

Measurements of rainfall rate, drop size distribution, and variability at middle and higher latitudes: application to the combined DPR-GMI algorithm


Klepp,  Christian
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Bringi, V., Grecu, M., Protat, A., Thurai, M., & Klepp, C. (2021). Measurements of rainfall rate, drop size distribution, and variability at middle and higher latitudes: application to the combined DPR-GMI algorithm. Remote Sensing, 13: 2412. doi:10.3390/rs13122412.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-BC51-9
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission is a major U.S.–Japan joint mission to understand the physics of the Earth’s global precipitation as a key component of its weather, climate, and hydrological systems. The core satellite carries a dual-precipitation radar and an advanced microwave imager which provide measurements to retrieve the drop size distribution (DSD) and rain rates using a Combined Radar-Radiometer Algorithm (CORRA). Our objective is to validate key assumptions and parameterizations in CORRA and enable improved estimation of precipitation products, especially in the middle-to-higher latitudes in both hemispheres. The DSD parameters and statistical relationships between DSD parameters and radar measurements are a central part of the rainfall retrieval algorithm, which is complicated by regimes where DSD measurements are abysmally sparse (over the open ocean). In view of this, we have assembled optical disdrometer datasets gathered by research vessels, ground stations, and aircrafts to simulate radar observables and validate the scattering lookup tables used in CORRA. The joint use of all DSD datasets spans a large range of drop concentrations and characteristic drop diameters. The scaling normalization of DSDs defines an intercept parameter NW, which normalizes the concentrations, and a scaling diameter Dm, which compresses or stretches the diameter coordinate axis. A major finding of this study is that a single relationship between NW and Dm, on average, unifies all datasets included, from stratocumulus to heavier rainfall regimes. A comparison with the NW–Dm relation used as a constraint in versions 6 and 7 of CORRA highlights the scope for improvement of rainfall retrievals for small drops (Dm lt; 1 mm) and large drops (Dm gt; 2 mm). The normalized specific attenuation–reflectivity relationships used in the combined algorithm are also found to match well the equivalent relationships derived using DSDs from the three datasets, suggesting that the currently assumed lookup tables are not a major source of uncertainty in the combined algorithm rainfall estimates.