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Cifelli R. and V. Chandrasekar (January 2010): Dual polarization radar rainfall estimation, in "Rainfall, State of the Science". In: Rainfall: State of the Science. Geophys. Monogr. Series, 191 . AGU, Wasington, DC, 105-125. ISBN 978-0-87590-481-8

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Dual-polarization radar is a critical tool for weather research applications, including rainfall estimation, and is at the verge of being a key instrument for operational meteorologists. This new radar system is being integrated into radar networks around the world, including the planned upgrade of the U.S. National Weather Service Weather Surveillance Radar, 1988 Doppler radars. Dual polarization offers several advantages compared to single-polarization radar systems, including additional information about the size, shape, and orientation of hydrometeors. This information can be used to more accurately retrieve characteristics of the drop size distribution, identify types of hydrometeors, correct for signal loss (attenuation) in heavy precipitation, and more easily identify spurious echo scatterers. In addition to traditional backscatter measurements, differential propagation phase characteristics allow for rainfall estimation that is immune to absolute calibration of the radar system, attenuation effects, as well as partial beam blocking. By combining different radar measurements, rainfall retrieval algorithms have developed that minimize the error characteristics of the different rainfall estimators, while at the same time taking advantage of the data quality enhancements. Although dual-polarization techniques have been applied to S band and C band radar systems for several decades, polarization diversity at higher frequencies including X band are now widely available to the radar community. This chapter provides an overview of dual-polarization rainfall estimation applications that are typically utilized at X, C, and S bands. The concept of distinguishing basic and applied science issues and their impact on rainfall estimation is introduced. Various dual-polarization radar rainfall techniques are discussed, emphasizing the strengths and weaknesses of various estimators at different frequencies.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1029/2010GM000930