Experimental results on rainfall estimation in complex terrain with a mobile X-band polarimetric weather radar
ABSTRACT In this work the capability of reliable rainfall measurements with small weather radars in complex terrain for flood forecasting purposes is examined. Rain measurements were carried out during winter–spring 2007 with a mobile X-band dual-polarization radar in the northwestern mountainous part of the island of Crete in Greece. In this area a 2D-video disdrometer and a network of raingauges was installed for radar calibration and evaluation of rainfall measurements, respectively. The complex terrain of the experimental site may significantly reduce the performance of rain measurements due to ground clutter and partial or total beam blockage. A beam blockage algorithm using high resolution terrain data was applied in order to find areas with significant terrain effects and estimate correction of the radar measurements. Rain attenuation correction was based on modern sophisticated algorithms using differential phase measurements. The accuracy of rainfall estimation from standard or polarimetric algorithms at plan position indicator (PPI) scans was examined for high-temporal resolution (1 min) rainfall rates and accumulated rainfall values for winter and spring time rain events. For high elevation measurements, which were required in order to avoid terrain effects in large areas of interest, a correction for the vertical-profile-of-reflectivity (VPR) was also applied to the radar data. An average VPR model used in the corresponding correction of reflectivity was constructed based on range–height indicator (RHI) scans. It was concluded that quantitative high resolution X-band radar observations of rainfall in complex terrain is possible after careful application of all the above processing steps.