Articles | Volume 30
09 May 2011
 | 09 May 2011

Drop size distribution comparisons between Parsivel and 2-D video disdrometers

M. Thurai, W. A. Petersen, A. Tokay, C. Schultz, and P. Gatlin

Abstract. Measurements from a 2-D video disdrometer (2DVD) have been used for drop size distribution (DSD) comparisons with co-located Parsivel measurements in Huntsville, Alabama. The comparisons were made in terms of the mass-weighted mean diameter, Dm, the standard deviation of the mass-spectrum, σm, and the rainfall rate, R, all based on 1-min DSD from the two instruments. Time series comparisons show close agreement in all three parameters for cases where R was less than 20 mm h−1. In four cases, discrepancies in all three parameters were seen for "heavy" events, with the Parsivel showing higher Dm, σm and R, when R reached high values (particularly above 30 mm h−1). Possible causes for the discrepancies include the presence of a small percentage of non-fully melted hydrometers, with higher than expected fall velocity and with very different axis ratios as compared with rain, indicating small hail or ice pellets or graupel. We also present here Parsivel-to-Parsivel comparisons as well as comparisons between two 2DVD instruments, namely a low-profile unit and the latest generation, "compact unit" which was installed at the same site in November 2009. The comparisons are included to assess the variability between the same types of instrument. Correlation coefficients and the fractional standard errors are compared.