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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Jun 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Effect of disdrometer type on rain drop size distribution characterisation: a new dataset for Southeastern Australia

Adrien Guyot1, Jayaram Pudashine1, Alain Protat2, Remko Uijlenhoet3, Valentijn R. N. Pauwels1, Alan Seed2, and Jeffrey P. Walker1 Adrien Guyot et al.
  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 3Wageningen University, Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract. Knowledge of the full rainfall Drop Size Distribution (DSD) is critical for characterising liquid water precipitation for applications such as rainfall retrievals using electromagnetic signals and atmospheric model parameterisation. Southern Hemisphere temperate latitudes have a lack of DSD observations and their integrated variables. Laser-based disdrometers rely on the attenuation of a beam by falling particles and is currently the most commonly used type of instrument to observe the DSD. However, there remain questions on the accuracy and variability in the DSDs measured by co-located instruments wether identical models, different models or from different manufacturers. In this study, raw and processed DSD observations obtained from two of the most commonly deployed laser disdrometers, namely the Parsivel1 from OTT and the Laser Precipitation Monitor (LPM) from Thies Clima, are analysed and compared. Four co-located instruments of each type were deployed over 3 years from 2014 to 2017 in the proximity of Melbourne, a region prone to coastal rainfall in Southeast Australia. This dataset includes a total of approximately 1.5 million recorded minutes, including over 40,000 minutes of quality rainfall data common to all instruments, equivalent to a cumulative amount of rainfall ranging from 1093 to 1244 mm (depending on the instrument records) for a total of 318 rainfall events. Most of the events lasted between 20 and 40 min for rainfall amounts of 0.12 mm to 26.0 mm. The co-located LPM sensors show very similar observations while the co-located Parsivel1 systems show significantly different results. The LPM recorded one to two orders of magnitude more smaller droplets for drop diameters below 0.6 mm compared to the Parsivel1, with differences increasing at higher rainfall rates. The LPM integrated variables showed systematically lower values compared to the Parsivel1. Radar reflectivity-rainfall rate (ZH-R) relationships and resulting potential errors are also presented. Specific ZH-R relations for drizzle and convective rainfall are also derived based on DSD collected for each instrument type. Variability of the DSD as observed by co-located instruments of the same manufacturer had little impact on the estimated ZH-R relationships for stratiform rainfall, but differs when considering convective rainfall relations or ZH-R relations fitted to all available data. Conversely, disdrometer-derived ZH-R relations as compared to the Marshall-Palmer relation ZH =200R1.6 led to a bias in rainfall rates for reflectivities of 50 dBZ of up to 21.6 mm h−1. This study provides an open-source high-resolution dataset of co-located DSD to further explore sampling effects at micro-scale, along with rainfall microphysics.

Adrien Guyot et al.
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Adrien Guyot et al.
Data sets

Laser Disdrometer Particle Size and Velocities Distributions Raw data (2014–2017) for Melbourne, Australia A. Guyot, J. Pudashine, A. Protat, R. Uijlenhoet, V. R. N. Pauwels, A. Seed, and J. P. Walker

Adrien Guyot et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We characterised for the first time the rainfall microphysics for Southern Hemisphere temperate latitudes. Co-located instruments were deployed to provide information on the sampling effect and spatio-temporal variabilities at micro-scales. Substantial differences were found across the instruments, increasing with increasing values of the rain rate. Specific relations for reflectivity-rainfall are presented together with related uncertainties for drizzle, stratiform rain and convective rainfall.
We characterised for the first time the rainfall microphysics for Southern Hemisphere temperate...