Articles | Volume 16
09 Apr 2008
 | 09 Apr 2008

Precipitation classification at mid-latitudes in terms of drop size distribution parameters

C. Caracciolo, F. Porcù, and F. Prodi

Abstract. The drop size distribution (DSD) is a fundamental property of rainfall because the shape of the distribution reflects the physics of rain formation processes. Given the lack of studies on the DSD at mid-latitudes, the present work focuses on the microphysical characterization of precipitation events occurring in Italy, using two different types of disdrometer. A large number of different rain events was collected: they underwent microphysical analysis by computing the Z-R relationships, observing the average DSDs and DSD parameters, fitting the real distribution for different rainfall rate categories and applying convective (C) – stratiform (S) discrimination algorithms. A general agreement with past works at mid-latitudes is found both in the Z-R relationship and in DSD parameters. The rain distribution is well described by a gamma DSD and only in some cases (especially the light rain events) by an exponential DSD. Marked differences are observed in DSD parameters and Z-R relationships between C and S episodes. The use of disdrometers for areas covered by multiparametric radar is suggested and will be performed in the near future.