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Elizabeth Thompson

Research Associate






Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2016

M.S. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2012

B.S. Meterology, Valparaiso University, 2010


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Dual-polarization radar rainfall estimation over tropical oceans

Thompson, E.J., S.A. Rutledge, B. Dolan, M. Thurai, and V. Chandrasekar, "Dual-polarization radar rainfall estimation over tropical oceans," J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., EOR, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0160.1, 2018.

More Info

27 Dec 2017

Dual-polarization radar rainfall estimation relationships have been extensively tested in continental and subtropical coastal rain regimes, with little testing over tropical oceans where the majority of rain on Earth occurs. A 1.5-year IndoPacific Warm Pool disdrometer dataset was used to quantify the impacts of tropical oceanic DSD variability on Kdp, Zdr, Zh, and Ah and their resulting utility for rainfall (R) estimation. Compared to continental or coastal convection, tropical oceanic Zdr and Kdp were more often of low magnitude (< 0.5 dB, < 0.3° km–1) and Zdr was lower for a given Kdp or Zh, consistent with observations of tropical oceanic DSD being dominated by numerous, small, less-oblate drops.

New X-, C-, and S-band R estimators were derived: R(Kdp), R(Ah), R(Kdp, ζdr), R(z, ζdr), R(Ah, ζdr). Except for R(Kdp), convective/stratiform partitioning was unnecessary for these estimators. All dual-polarization estimators outperformed updated R(z) estimators derived from the same DSD dataset. R(Kdp, ζdr) performed best, followed by R(Ah, ζdr) and R(z, ζdr).

R error was further reduced in an updated blended algorithm choosing between R(z), R(z, ζdr), R(Kdp), and R(Kdp, ζdr) depending on Zdr > 0.25 dB and Kdp > 0.3° km–1 thresholds. Due to these thresholds and the lack of hail, R(Kdp) was never used. At all wavelengths, R(z) was still needed 43% of the time during light rain (R < 5 mm h–1, Zdr < 0.25 dB), comprising 7% of total rain volume. As wavelength decreased, R(Kdp, ζdr) was used more often, R(z, ζdr) was used less often, and the blended algorithm became increasingly more accurate than R(z).

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center