Radar–gauge rainfall discrepancies are considered to originate from radar rainfall measurements while ignoring the fact that radar observes rain aloft while a rain gauge measures rainfall on the ground. Observations of raindrops observed aloft by weather radars consider that raindrops fall vertically to the ground without changing in size. This premise obviously does not stand because raindrop location changes due to wind drift and raindrop size changes due to evaporation. However, both effects are usually ignored. This study proposes a fully formulated scheme to numerically simulate both raindrop drift and evaporation in the air, and reduces the uncertainties of radar rainfall estimation. The Weather Research and Forecasting model is used to simulate high-resolution three-dimensional atmospheric fields. A dual-polarization radar retrieves the raindrop size distribution for each radar pixel. Three schemes are designed and implemented using the Hameldon Hill radar in Lancashire, England. The first considers only raindrop drift, the second considers only evaporation, and the last considers both aspects. Results show that wind advection can cause a large drift for small raindrops. Considerable loss of rainfall is observed due to raindrop evaporation. Overall, the three schemes improve the radar–gauge correlation by 3.2%, 2.9%, and 3.8%, and reduce their discrepancy by 17.9%, 8.6%, and 21.7%, respectively over eight selected events. This study contributes to the improvement of quantitative precipitation estimation from radar polarimetry and allows a better understanding of precipitation processes.
- radar rainfall
- wind drift
- dual-polarization radar
- radar–gauge rainfall discrepancies