13 Jan 2023
13 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Evaluation of polarimetric ice microphysical retrievals with OLYMPEX campaign data

Armin Blanke1, Andrew J. Heymsfield2, Manuel Moser3,4, and Silke Trömel1,5 Armin Blanke et al.
  • 1Institute of Geosciences, Department of Meteorology, University of Bonn, Bonn, 53121, Germany
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Institute for Physics of the Atmosphere, University Mainz, Mainz, 55099, Germany
  • 4Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234, Germany
  • 5Laboratory for Clouds and Precipitation Exploration, Geoverbund ABC/J, Bonn, 53121, Germany

Abstract. Polarimetric microphysical retrievals reveal a great potential for the evaluation of numerical models and data assimilation. However, the accuracy of ice microphysical retrievals is still poorly explored. To evaluate these retrievals and assess their accuracy, polarimetric radar measurements are spatially and temporally collocated with in situ aircraft measurements obtained during the OLYMPEX campaign (Olympic Mountain Experiment). Retrievals for ice water content IWC, total number concentration Nt, and mean volume diameter Dm of ice particles are assessed by comparing an in situ dataset obtained by the University of North Dakota (UND) Citation II aircraft with X-band Doppler on Wheels (DOW) measurements. Sector averaged range height indicator (RHI) scans are used to derive vertical profiles of microphysical retrievals. The comparison of these estimates with in situ data provides insights into strengths, weaknesses, and accuracy of the different retrievals, and quantifies the improvements of polarimetry-informed retrievals compared to conventional, non-polarimetric ones. In particular, the recently introduced hybrid ice water content retrieval exploiting reflectivity ZH, differential reflectivity ZDR and specific differential phase KDP outperforms other retrievals based on either (ZH, ZDR) or (ZH, KDP) or non-polarimetric retrievals in terms of correlations with in situ measurements and the root mean square error.

Armin Blanke et al.

Status: open (until 18 Feb 2023)

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Armin Blanke et al.

Armin Blanke et al.


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Short summary
We present an evaluation of current retrieval techniques in the ice phase applied to polarimetric radar measurements with collocated in situ observations of aircraft conducted over the Olympic Mountains, Washington State during winter 2015. Radar estimates of ice properties most agreed with aircraft observations in regions with pronounced radar signatures, but uncertainties were identified that indicate issues of some retrievals, particularly in warmer temperature regimes.