Polarimetric radar measurements and products perform as the cornerstones of modern severe weather warning and nowcast systems. Two radar quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) frameworks, one based on a radar-gauge feedback mechanism and the other based on standard rain drop size distribution (DSD)-derived rainfall retrieval relationships, are both evaluated and investigated through an extreme severe convective rainfall event that occurred on 23 June 2015 in the mountainous region over eastern China, using the first routinely operational C-band polarimetric radar in China. Complex rainstorm characteristics, as indicated by polarimetric radar observables, are also presented to account for the severe rainfall field center located in the gap between gauge stations. Our results show that (i) the improvements of the gauge-feedback-derived radar QPE estimator can be attributed to the attenuation correction technique and dynamically adjusted Z-R relationships, but it greatly relies on the gauge measurement accuracy. (ii) A DSD-derived radar QPE estimator based on the specific differential phase (KDP) performs best among all rainfall estimators, and the interaction between the mesocyclone and the windward slope of the mountainous terrain can account for its apparent overestimation. (iii) The rainstorm is mainly dominated by small-sized and moderate-sized raindrops, with the mean volume diameter being less than 2 mm, but its KDP column (KDP > 3°·km-1) has a liquid water content that is higher than 2.4815 g·m-3, and a high raindrop concentration (Nw) with log10(Nw) exceeding 5.1 mm-1m-3. In addition, small hailstones falling and melting are also found in this event, which further aggregates Nw upon the severe rainfall center in the gap between gauge stations.
- Complex terrain
- Eastern China
- Flash flood
- Polarimetric radar
- Quantitative precipitation estimation