Empirical Relations between Size Parameters of Ice Hydrometeor Populations and...

Matrosov, S., and A. J. Heymsfield (2017), Empirical Relations between Size Parameters of Ice Hydrometeor Populations and Radar Reflectivity, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 56, 2479-2488, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0076.1.

Empirical power-law relations between the equivalent radar reflectivity factor Ze and the slope parameter of the gamma function L (i.e., L 5 cZed ; used to describe ice hydrometeor size distributions) are derived. The L parameter can also be considered as a size parameter since it is proportional to the inverse of the hydrometeor characteristic size, which is an important geophysical parameter describing the entire distribution. Two datasets from two-dimensional microphysical probes, collected during aircraft flights in subtropical and midlatitude regions, were used to obtain L by fitting measured size distributions. Reflectivity for different radar frequencies was calculated from microphysical probe data by using nonspherical-particle models. The derived relations have exponent d values that are approximately from 20.35 to 20.40, and the prefactors c are approximately between 30 and 55 (L: cm21; Ze: mm6 m23). There is a tendency for d and c to decrease when radar frequency increases from Ku band (;14 GHz) to W band (;94 GHz). Correlation coefficients between Ze and L can be very high (;0.8), especially for lower frequencies. Such correlations are similar to those for empirical relations between reflectivity and ice water content (IWC), which are used in many modeling and remote sensing applications. Close correspondences of reflectivity to both L and IWC are due to a relatively high correlation between these two microphysical parameters. Expected uncertainties in estimating L from reflectivity could be as high as a factor of 2, although estimates at lower radar frequencies are more robust. Stratifying retrievals by temperature could result in relatively modest improvement of L estimates.

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Research Program: 
Applied Sciences Program (ASP)
Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)
Climate Variability and Change Program
Energy & Water Cycle Program (EWCP)