Quantitative evaluation of polarimetric estimates from scanning weather radars using a vertically pointing micro rain radar

Ricardo Reinoso-Rondinel*, Marc Schleiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Conventionally, Micro Rain Radars (MRRs) have been used as a tool to calibrate reflectivity from weather radars, estimate the relation between rainfall rate and reflectivity, and study microphysical processes in precipitation. However, limited attention has been given to the reliability of the retrieved drop size distributions (DSDs) from MRRs. This study sheds more light on this aspect by examining the sensitivity of retrieved DSDs to the assumptions made to map Doppler spectra into size distributions, and investigates the capability of an MRR to assess polarimetric observations from operational weather radars. For that, an MRR was installed near the Cabauw observatory in the Netherlands, between the International Research Center for Telecommunications and Radar (IRCTR) Drizzle Radar (IDRA) X-band radar and the Herwijnen operational C-band radar. The measurements of the MRR from November 2018 to February 2019 were used to retrieve DSDs and simulate horizontal reflectivity Ze, differential reflectivity ZDR, and specific differential phase KDP in rain. Attention is given to the impact of aliased spectra and right-hand-side truncation on the simulation of polarimetric variables. From a quantitative assessment, the correlations of Ze and ZDR between the MRR and Herwijnen radar were 0.93 and 0.70, respectively, while those between the MRR and IDRA were 0.91 and 0.69. However, Ze and ZDR from the Herwijnen radar showed slight biases of 1.07 and 0.25 dB. For IDRA, the corresponding biases were 2.67 and-0.93 dB. Our results show that MRR measurements are advantageous to inspect the calibration of scanning radars and validate polarimetric estimates in rain, provided that the DSDs are correctly retrieved and controlled for quality assurance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-499
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Data processing
  • Data quality control
  • Measurements
  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Weather radar signal processing


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