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Volume 11, issue 7 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 3883-3916, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Jul 2018

Research article | 04 Jul 2018

From model to radar variables: a new forward polarimetric radar operator for COSMO

Daniel Wolfensberger and Alexis Berne Daniel Wolfensberger and Alexis Berne
  • LTE, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. In this work, a new forward polarimetric radar operator for the COSMO numerical weather prediction (NWP) model is proposed. This operator is able to simulate measurements of radar reflectivity at horizontal polarization, differential reflectivity as well as specific differential phase shift and Doppler variables for ground based or spaceborne radar scans from atmospheric conditions simulated by COSMO. The operator includes a new Doppler scheme, which allows estimation of the full Doppler spectrum, as well a melting scheme which allows representing the very specific polarimetric signature of melting hydrometeors. In addition, the operator is adapted to both the operational one-moment microphysical scheme of COSMO and its more advanced two-moment scheme. The parameters of the relationships between the microphysical and scattering properties of the various hydrometeors are derived either from the literature or, in the case of graupel and aggregates, from observations collected in Switzerland. The operator is evaluated by comparing the simulated fields of radar observables with observations from the Swiss operational radar network, from a high resolution X-band research radar and from the dual-frequency precipitation radar of the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite (GPM-DPR). This evaluation shows that the operator is able to simulate an accurate Doppler spectrum and accurate radial velocities as well as realistic distributions of polarimetric variables in the liquid phase. In the solid phase, the simulated reflectivities agree relatively well with radar observations, but the simulated differential reflectivity and specific differential phase shift upon propagation tend to be underestimated. This radar operator makes it possible to compare directly radar observations from various sources with COSMO simulations and as such is a valuable tool to evaluate and test the microphysical parameterizations of the model.

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Short summary
This work presents a polarimetric forward operator for the COSMO weather prediction model. This tool is able to simulate radar observables from the state of the atmosphere simulated by the model, taking into account most physical aspects of radar beam propagation and backscattering. This operator was validated with a large dataset of radar observations from several instruments and it was shown that is able to simulate a realistic radar signature in liquid precipitation.
This work presents a polarimetric forward operator for the COSMO weather prediction model. This...