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Estimating Rain Rates from Tipping-Bucket Rain Gauge MeasurementsThis paper describes the cubic spline based operational system for the generation of the TRMM one-minute rain rate product 2A-56 from Tipping Bucket (TB) gauge measurements. Methodological issues associated with applying the cubic spline to the TB gauge rain rate estimation are closely examined. A simulated TB gauge from a Joss-Waldvogel (JW) disdrometer is employed to evaluate effects of time scales and rain event definitions on errors of the rain rate estimation. The comparison between rain rates measured from the JW disdrometer and those estimated from the simulated TB gauge shows good overall agreement; however, the TB gauge suffers sampling problems, resulting in errors in the rain rate estimation. These errors are very sensitive to the time scale of rain rates. One-minute rain rates suffer substantial errors, especially at low rain rates. When one minute rain rates are averaged to 4-7 minute or longer time scales, the errors dramatically reduce. The rain event duration is very sensitive to the event definition but the event rain total is rather insensitive, provided that the events with less than 1 millimeter rain totals are excluded. Estimated lower rain rates are sensitive to the event definition whereas the higher rates are not. The median relative absolute errors are about 22% and 32% for 1-minute TB rain rates higher and lower than 3 mm per hour, respectively. These errors decrease to 5% and 14% when TB rain rates are used at 7-minute scale. The radar reflectivity-rainrate (Ze-R) distributions drawn from large amount of 7-minute TB rain rates and radar reflectivity data are mostly insensitive to the event definition.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Wang, Jianxin (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Fisher, Brad L. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Wolff, David B. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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