A probabilistic radar forward model for branched planar ice crystals

Robert S. Schrom, Matthew R. Kumjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Polarimetric radar measurements provide information about ice particle growth and offer the potential to evaluate and better constrain ice microphysical models. To achieve these goals, one must map the ice particle physical properties (e.g., those predicted by a microphysical model) to electromagnetic scattering properties using a radar forward model. Simplified methods of calculating these scattering properties using homogeneous, reduced-density spheroids produce large errors in the polarimetric radar measurements, particularly for low-aspect-ratio branched planar crystals. To overcome these errors, an empirical method is introduced to more faithfully represent branched planar crystal scattering using scattering calculations for a large number of detailed shapes. Additionally, estimates of the uncertainty in the scattering properties, owing to ambiguity in the crystal shape given a set of bulk physical properties, are also incorporated in the forward model. To demonstrate the utility of the forward model developed herein, the radar variables are simulated from microphysical model output for an Arctic cloud case. The simulated radar variables from the empirical forward model are more consistent with the observations compared to those from the homogeneous, reduced-density-spheroid model, and have relatively low uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1265
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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