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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-210
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-210
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 28 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Statistical characteristics of raindrop size distribution during rainy seasons in Beijing urban area and implications for radar rainfall estimation

Yu Ma1, Guangheng Ni1, V. Chandrasekar2, Fuqiang Tian1, and Haonan Chen2,3 Yu Ma et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Hydro-Science and Engineering, Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 3NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80305, USA

Abstract. Raindrop size distribution (DSD) information is fundamental in understanding the precipitation microphysics and quantitative precipitation estimation, especially in complex terrain or urban environment which is known for its complicated rainfall mechanism and high spatial and temporal variability. In this study, the DSD characteristics of rainy seasons in Beijing urban area are extensively investigated using 5-year DSD observations from a Parsivel2 disdrometer located at Tsinghua University. The results show that the DSD samples with rain rate < 1 mm h−1 account for more than half of total observations. The mean values of log10 Nw and Dm of convective rain are higher than that of stratiform rain, and there is a clear boundary between the two types of rain in terms of the scattergram of log10Nw versus Dm. The convective rain in Beijing is neither continental nor maritime owing to the particular location and local topography. As the rainfall intensity increases, the DSD spectra become higher and wider, but they still have peaks around diameter D ~ 0.5 mm. The midsize drops contribute most towards accumulated rainwater. The Dm and log10Nw values show a diurnal cycle and an annual cycle. In addition, DSD shows higher Dm values and lower log10Nw values during the periods of strong urban heat island (UHI) effect and UHI up stage of a day, and the same in July and August. The localized radar reflectivity (Z) and rain rate (R) relations (Z = aRb) show substantial differences compared to the commonly used NEXRAD relationships. And the polarimetric radar algorithms R(Kdp), R(Kdp, ZDR), and R(ZH, ZDR) show greater potential for rainfall estimation.

Yu Ma et al.
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Short summary
Raindrop size distribution (DSD) information is fundamental in understanding the precipitation microphysics and quantitative precipitation estimation. This study extensively investigates the DSD characteristics during rainy seasons in Beijing urban area using 5-year DSD observations from a Parsivel2 disdrometer. The statistical distributions of DSD parameters are examined and the polarimetric radar rainfall algorithms are derived to support the ongoing development of an X-band radar network.
Raindrop size distribution (DSD) information is fundamental in understanding the precipitation...
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