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Ceilometer-Based Rain-Rate Estimation: A Case-Study Comparison With S-Band Radar and Disdrometer Retrievals in the Context of VORTEX-SE


Attenuated backscatter measurements from a Vaisala CL31 ceilometer and a modified form of the well-known slope method are used to derive the ceilometer extinction profiles during rain events, restricted to rainfall rates (RRs) below approximately 10 mm/h. RR estimates from collocated S-band radar and portable disdrometer are used to derive the RR-to-extinction correlation models for the ceilometer-radar and ceilometer-disdrometer combinations. Data were collected during an intensive observation period of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment Southeast (VORTEX-SE) conducted in northern Alabama. These models are used to estimate the RR from the ceilometer observations in similar situations that do not have collocated radar or the disdrometer. Such correlation models are, however, limited by the different temporal and spatial resolutions of the measured variables, measurement capabilities of the instruments, and the inherent assumption of a homogeneous atmosphere. An empirical method based on extinction and RR uncertainty scoring and covariance fitting are proposed to solve, in part, these limitations.

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