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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-442
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-442
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Dec 2018

Research article | 19 Dec 2018

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

Investigation of observational error sources in multi Doppler radar vertical air motion retrievals: Impacts and possible solutions

Mariko Oue1, Pavlos Kollias1,2,3, Alan Shapiro4, Aleksandra Tatarevic3, and Toshihisa Matsui5 Mariko Oue et al.
  • 1School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, 11794, USA
  • 2Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, 11973, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, H3A 0G4, Canada
  • 4School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, 73019, USA
  • 5Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Laboratory NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, 20771, USA

Abstract. Multi-Doppler radar network observations have been used in different configurations over the last several decades to conduct three-dimensional wind retrievals in mesoscale convective systems. Here, the impact of the selected radar volume coverage pattern (VCP), the sampling time for the VCP, the number of radars used, and the added value of advection correction on the retrieval of the vertical air motion in the upper part of convective clouds is examined using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulation, the Cloud Resolving Model Radar SIMulator (CR-SIM) and a three-dimensional variational multi-Doppler radar retrieval technique. Comparisons between the model truth (i.e., WRF kinematic fields) and updraft properties (updraft fraction, updraft magnitude, and mass flux) retrieved from the CR-SIM-generated multi-Doppler radar field are used to investigate these impacts. In overall, the VCP elevation strategy and sampling time is found to have a significant effect on the retrieved updraft properties above 6km altitude. Retrievals conducted using a 2-min or shorter VCPs show small impacts on the updraft retrievals, and the errors are comparable to retrievals using a snapshot cloud field. Increasing the density of elevations angles and/or an addition of data from one more radar can reduce this uncertainty. It is found that the VCP with dense elevation angles appears to be more effective than the addition of data from the fourth radar, if the VCP is performed in 2 minutes. The use of dense elevation angles combined with an advection correction applied to the 2-min VCPs can effectively improve the updraft retrievals. For longer VCP sampling periods (5min) the errors are considerably larger, and the value of advection correction is challenging due to the rapid deformation of the dynamical structures in the simulated mesoscale convective system. This study highlights several limiting factors in the retrieval of upper-level vertical velocity from multi-Doppler radar networks and suggests that the use of rapid-scan radars can substantially improve the quality of wind retrievals if conducted in a limited spatial domain.

Mariko Oue et al.
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Mariko Oue et al.
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Short summary
This study investigated impacts of the selected radar volume coverage pattern, the sampling time period, the number of radars used, and the added value of advection correction on the retrieval of vertical air motion from a multi-Doppler radar technique. The results suggest that the use of rapid-scan radars can substantially improve the quality of wind retrievals and that the retrieved wind field needs to be carefully used considering the limitations of the radar observing system.
This study investigated impacts of the selected radar volume coverage pattern, the sampling time...
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