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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) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 May 2019

Research article | 17 May 2019

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

Combined use of volume radar observations and high-resolution numerical weather predictions to estimate precipitation at the ground: methodology and proof of concept

Tony Le Bastard1, Olivier Caumont2, Nicolas Gaussiat1, and Fatima Karbou3 Tony Le Bastard et al.
  • 1DSO-CMR, Météo-France, Toulouse, France
  • 2CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 3CNRM-CEN, UMR 3589, Météo-France, CNRS, St. Martin d’Hères, France

Abstract. The extrapolation of the precipitation to the ground from radar reflectivities measured at the beam altitude is one of the most delicate phases of radar data processing for producing Quantitative Precipitation Estimations (QPEs) and remains a major scientific issue. In many operational meteorological services such as Météo-France, a Vertical Profile of Reflectivity (VPR) correction is uniformly applied over a large part or the entire radar domain. This method is computationally efficient and the overall bias induced by the bright band is most of the time well corrected. However, this way of proceeding is questionable in situations with high spatial and vertical variability of precipitation (during the passage of a cold front or in a complex terrain, for example).

This study initiates from two statements: first, radars provide information on precipitation with a high spatio-temporal resolution but still require VPR corrections to extrapolate rain rates at the ground level. Second, the horizontal resolution of some Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models is now comparable with the radar one and their dynamical core and microphysics schemes allow to produce realistic simulations of VPRs.

The present paper proposes a new approach to assess surface rainfall from radar reflectivity aloft by exploiting simulated VPRs and rainfall forecasts from the high resolution NWP model AROME-NWC. To our knowledge, this is the first time that simulated precipitation profiles from a NWP model are used to derive radar QPEs.

The implementation of the new method on two stratiform situations provided significant improvements on the hourly and 6-h accumulations compared to the operational QPEs, showing the relevance of this new approach.

Tony Le Bastard et al.
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Tony Le Bastard et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The estimation of surface rainfall from radars becomes less effective at long ranges or in mountainous regions where the radar beam is far from the ground. The method proposed in this paper investigates how vertical profiles simulated from high-resolution model can be used to predict the evolution of the precipitation below the radar beam. Our results show that this novel method leads to better results than the current operational methods that either use climatological or idealised profiles.
The estimation of surface rainfall from radars becomes less effective at long ranges or in...