Reconstruction of reflectivity vertical profiles and data quality control for C-band radar rainfall estimation
Abstract. Microwave Doppler radars are considered a fairly established technique to retrieve rain rate fields from measured reflectivity volumes. However, in a complex orographic environment radar observations are affected by several impairments which should be carefully evaluated. Together with the enhancement of ground-clutter effects, the major limitation is represented by partial or total beam blocking caused by natural obstructions which very often impose to scan at high-elevation angles. These range-related limitations tend to reduce the potential role of operational weather radars in monitoring precipitation amount at ground within mountainous areas since, if either the nature or intensity of rainfall varies with height (e.g., melting effects during stratiform rain), radar returns at higher altitudes may be not representative of surface rain rate. Therefore, before to use the radar data, it is necessary to reduce, as much as possible, this evaluation errors and to estimate the reliability of the processed data. Near to the quality control, are needed quality indexes, taking into account each correction and elaboration step, that could be useful to retrieve a final quality value. In this work, we analyse the main factors that could be affect the efficiency of a reconstruction methodology of near-surface reflectivity fields from high-elevation reflectivity bins, in presence of complex orography. A climatologic schema is applied to infer near-surface reflectivity at a given range interval. The technique is developed in polar coordinates partially taking into account the antenna beam width degradation at longer ranges and overall computational efficiency for operational purposes. Thereafter, it is applied on a rainfall event observed by a C-band Doppler radar operating in S. Pietro Capofiume (Bologna, Italy) and the relation between the reconstruction error and possible quality indicators is analysed and discussed.