Articles | Volume 10, issue 7
07 Apr 2010
 | 07 Apr 2010

Synergetic use of millimeter- and centimeter-wavelength radars for retrievals of cloud and rainfall parameters

S. Y. Matrosov

Abstract. A remote sensing approach for simultaneous retrievals of cloud and rainfall parameters in the vertical column above the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Climate Research Facility at the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) Darwin site in Australia is described. This approach uses vertically pointing measurements from a DOE Ka-band radar and scanning measurements from a nearby C-band radar pointing toward the TWP Darwin site. Rainfall retrieval constraints are provided by data from a surface impact disdrometer. The approach is applicable to stratiform precipitating cloud systems when a separation between the liquid hydrometeor layer, which contains rainfall and liquid water clouds, and the ice hydrometeor layer is provided by the radar bright band. Absolute C-band reflectivities and Ka-band vertical reflectivity gradients in the liquid layer are used for retrievals of the mean layer rain rate and cloud liquid water path (CLWP). C-band radar reflectivities are also used to estimate ice water path (IWP) in regions above the melting layer. The retrieval uncertainties of CLWP and IWP for typical stratiform precipitation systems are about 500–800 g m−2 (for CLWP) and a factor of 2 (for IWP). The CLWP retrieval uncertainties increase with rain rate, so retrievals for higher rain rates may be impractical. The expected uncertainties of layer mean rain rate retrievals are around 20%, which, in part, is due to constraints available from the disdrometer data. The applicability of the suggested approach is illustrated for two characteristic events observed at the TWP Darwin site during the wet season of 2007. A future deployment of W-band radars at the DOE tropical Climate Research Facilities can improve CLWP estimation accuracies and provide retrievals for a wider range of stratiform precipitating cloud events.

Final-revised paper