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Rainwater content estimated using polarimetric radar parameters in the Heihe River Basin


Atmospheric Research


Guo Zhao,Rongzhong Chu,Tong Zhang,Wei Jia








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Zhao, G

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Polarimetric radar; Rain water content; Super-cooled liquid droplets


The rainwater content of cold and arid regions has strong spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Representing rainwater content at high resolution can help us understand the characteristics of inland river basin water cycles and improve the prediction accuracy of hydrological models. Data were used from the Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (WATER) project of the Heihe River Basin, which is the second largest inland river basin in the arid regions of northwest China. We used raindrop size distributions to improve the rain water content estimation of meteorological radar and to obtain accurate rain water content data in this area. Subsequently, four estimation methods applied in the polarimetric radar were tested. The results of a non-linear regression method show that M(K-DP, Z(H), Z(DR)) has the highest accuracy for measuring rain water content. Finally, the formula for measuring the spatial rain water content was applied to a polarimetric radar with an X-band (714XDP). The influence of raindrop size distribution (DSD) on the formula M(K-DP, Z(H), Z(DR)) is lowest sensitivity, and it can be explained as follows. On the one hand, the horizontal and vertical front reflection cross sections of the radar are different, so K-DP is proportional to the 3rd power of the raindrop diameter. On the other hand, the rear cross section of the radar is proportional to the sixth power of the raindrop diameter. The rainfall's spatial water content M is proportional to the 3rd power of the raindrop diameter, so the influence of the drop size distribution (DSD) on K-DP is much smaller than that of Z(H).