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On the feasibility of a Doppler weather radar for estimates of drop size distribution using two closely spaced frequencies

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4 Author(s)
R. Meneghini ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; L. Liao ; S. W. Bidwell ; G. M. Heymsfield

Dual-frequency weather radar data can be gathered using a single broadband power amplifier and antenna for the purpose of estimating parameters of the hydrometeor size distribution. This is an attractive feature for observation platforms that are limited with respect to mass or available power. Whether useful properties of the scattering medium can be obtained from data of this type is the focus of the paper. Generally, as the center frequency or the bandwidth is decreased, the reflectivity factor difference falls below the level of the inherent signal fluctuations. Even if large numbers of independent samples can be gathered to permit estimates of the differential signals, the question remains as to whether the signal can be related unambiguously to properties of the rain or snow. Center frequencies at or near 35 GHz with bandwidths in excess of 5% give relatively strong differential signals. The signal, moreover, is directly related to the median mass diameter of the size distribution. The differential mean Doppler at frequencies where non-Rayleigh scattering effects are significant is also of use because the quantity depends only on the terminal velocity of the drops and is insensitive to the mean air and platform motion. In principle, the mean and differential mean Doppler velocities from a nadir-viewing radar can be used to estimate the mean vertical air motion and the median drop diameter of the size distribution

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 10 )