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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Oct 2018

Research article | 17 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

The Disdrometer Verification Network (DiVeN): a UK network of laser precipitation instruments

Ben S. Pickering1, Ryan R. Neely III2, and Dawn Harrison3 Ben S. Pickering et al.
  • 1Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK. LS2 9JT
  • 2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, 71-75 Clarendon Rd, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK. LS2 9PH
  • 3United Kingdom Meteorological Office, Fitzroy Rd, Exeter, UK. EX1 3PB

Abstract. Starting in February 2017, a network of 14 Thies Laser Precipitation Monitors (LPMs) were installed at various locations around the United Kingdom to create the Disdrometer Verification Network (DiVeN). The instruments were installed for verification of radar hydrometeor classification algorithms but are valuable for much wider use in the scientific and operational meteorological community. Every Thies LPM is able to designate each observed hydrometeor into one of 20 diameter bins from ≥ 0.125 mm to > 8 mm, and one of 22 speed bins from > 0.0 m s−1 to > 20.0 m s−1. Using empirically-derived relationships, the instrument classifies precipitation into one of 11 possible hydrometeor classes in the form of a present weather code, with an associated indicator of uncertainty. To provide immediate feedback to data users, the observations are plotted in near real time (NRT) and made publicly available on a website within 7 minutes. Here we describe the Disdrometer Verification Network and subjectively discuss the skill of the Thies LPM for hydrometeor type identification using specific cases from the first year of observations. Cases presented here suggest that the Thies LPM performs well at identifying transitions between rain and snow, but struggles with detection of graupel and pristine ice crystals (which occur infrequently in the United Kingdom) inherently, due to internal processing. The present weather code quality index is shown to have some skill without the supplementary sensors recommended by the manufacturer. Overall the Thies LPM is a useful tool for detecting hydrometeor type at the surface and DiVeN provides a novel dataset not previously observed for the United Kingdom.

Ben S. Pickering et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (extended)
Status: open (extended)
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Ben S. Pickering et al.
Ben S. Pickering et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A new network of precipitation instruments has been established for the UK. The instruments are capable of detecting the fall velocity and diameter of each particle that falls through a laser beam. The particle characteristics are derived from the duration and amount of decrease in beam brightness as perceived by a receiving diode. 14 instruments make up the network and all instruments upload 60-second frequency data in near real time to a publicly available website with plots.
A new network of precipitation instruments has been established for the UK. The instruments are...