The effect of reported high-velocity small raindrops on inferred drop size distributions and derived power laws
Abstract. It has recently been shown that at high rainfall intensities, small raindrops may fall with much larger velocities than would be expected from their diameters. These were argued to be fragments of recently broken-up larger drops. In this paper we quantify the effect of this phenomenon on raindrop size distribution measurements from a Joss-Waldvogel disdrometer, a 2-D Video Distrometer, and a vertically-pointing Doppler radar. Probability distributions of fall velocities have been parameterized, where the parameters are functions of both rainfall intensity and drop size. These parameterizations have been used to correct Joss-Waldvogel disdrometer measurements for this phenomenon. The effect of these corrections on fitted scaled drop size distributions are apparent but not major. Fitted gamma distributions for three different types of rainfall have been used to simulate drop size measurements. The effect of the high-velocity small drops is shown to be minor. Especially for the purpose of remote sensing of rainfall using radar, microwave links, or optical links, the errors caused by using the slightly different retrieval relations will be masked completely by other error sources.