Estimation of rain kinetic energy from radar reflectivity and/or rain rate based on a scaling formulation of the raindrop size distribution

Nan Yu, Brice Boudevillain, Guy Delrieu, Remko Uijlenhoet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study offers an approach to estimate the rainfall kinetic energy (KE) by rain intensity (R) and radar reflectivity factor (Z) separately or jointly on the basis of a one- or two-moment scaled raindrop size distribution (DSD) formulation, which contains (1) R and/or Z observations and (2) the dimensionless probability density function (pdf) of a scaled raindrop diameter. The key point is to explain all variability of the DSD by the evolution of the explaining moments (R and Z); hence the pdf is considered as constant. A robust method is proposed to estimate the climatological values of the parameters with a 28 month DSD data set collected in the Cévennes-Vivarais region of France. Three relationships (KE-R, KE-Z, and KE-RZ), which link the observations (R and/or Z) to rainfall kinetic energy (KE), are established. As expected, the assessment using the disdrometer data indicates that (1) because of the proximity of the moment orders, the KE-Z relationship exhibits less variability than the KE-R relationship and (2) the combination of R and Z yields a significant improvement of the estimation of KE compared to the single-moment formulations. Subsequently, a first attempt to spatialize the kinetic energy using radar and rain gauge measurements is presented for a convective event, showing a promising potential for erosion process studies. Different from the application with the disdrometer data, the performance of the KE-Z relationship degrades compared to the KE-R relationship as a result of a bias and/or the sampling characteristics of the radar data.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberW04505
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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