Effects of Multiple Scattering on Attenuation-Based Retrievals of Stratiform...

Matrosov, S., A. Battaglia, and P. Rodriguez (2008), Effects of Multiple Scattering on Attenuation-Based Retrievals of Stratiform Rainfall from CloudSat, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 25, 2199-2208, doi:10.1175/2008JTECHA1095.1.

An attenuation-based method to retrieve vertical profiles of rainfall rates from height derivatives/ gradients of CloudSat nadir-pointing W-band reflectivity measurements is discussed. This method takes advantage of the high attenuation of W-band frequency signals in rain and the low variability of nonattenuated reflectivity due to strong non-Rayleigh scattering from rain drops. The retrieval uncertainties could reach 40%–50%. The suggested method is generally applicable to rainfall rates (R) in an approximate range from about 2–3 to about 20–25 mm hϪ1. Multiple scattering noticeably affects the gradients of CloudSat measurements for R values greater than about 5 mm hϪ1. To avoid a retrieval bias caused by multiple-scattering effects, a special correction for retrievals is introduced. For rainfall rates greater than about 25 mm hϪ1, the influence of multiple scattering gets overwhelming, and the retrievals become problematic, especially for rainfalls with higher freezing-level altitudes. The attenuation-based retrieval method was applied to experimental data from CloudSat covering the range of rainfall rates. CloudSat retrievals were compared to the rainfall estimates available from a National Weather Service ground-based scanning precipitation radar operating at S band. Comparisons between spaceborne and conventional radar rainfall retrievals were generally in good agreement and indicated the mutual consistency of both quantitative precipitation estimate types. The suggested CloudSat rainfall retrieval method is immune to the absolute calibration of the radar and to attenuation caused by the melting layer and snow regions. Since it does not require surface returns, it is applicable to measurements above both land and water surfaces.

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Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)