Articles | Volume 16, issue 11
Research article
07 Nov 2012
Research article |  | 07 Nov 2012

Joint statistical correction of clutters, spokes and beam height for a radar derived precipitation climatology in southern Germany

A. Wagner, J. Seltmann, and H. Kunstmann

Abstract. First results of radar derived climatology have emerged over the last years, as datasets of appropriate extent are becoming available. Usually, these statistics are based on time series lasting up to ten years as continuous storage of radar data was often not achieved before. This kind of climatology demands a high level of data quality. Small deviations or minor systematic under- or overestimations in single radar images become a major cause of error in statistical analysis. Extensive corrections of radar data are a crucial prerequisite for radar derived climatology. We present a new statistical post-correction scheme based on a climatological analysis of seven years of radar data of the Munich weather radar (2000–2006) operated by DWD (German Weather Service). Original radar products are used subject only to corrections within the signal processor without any further corrections on single radar images. The aim of this statistical correction is to make up for the average systematic errors caused by clutter, propagation, or measuring effects but to conserve small-scale natural variations in space.

The statistical correction is based on a thorough analysis of the different causes of possible errors for the Munich weather radar. This analysis revealed the following basic effects: the decrease of rain amount as a function of height and distance from the radar, clutter effects such as clutter remnants after filtering, holes by eliminated clutter or shading effects from obstacles near the radar, visible as spokes, as well as the influence of the bright band. The correction algorithm is correspondingly based on these results. It consists of three modules. The first one is an altitude correction which minimises measuring effects. The second module corrects clutter effects and disturbances and the third one realises a mean adjustment to selected rain gauges. Two different sets of radar products are used. The statistical analysis as well as module 1 and module 2 of the correction algorithm are based on frequencies of the six reflectivity levels within the so-called PX product. For correction module 3 and for the validation of the correction algorithm, rain amounts are calculated from the 8-bit so-called DX product. The correction algorithm is created to post-correct climatological or statistical analysis of radar data with a temporal resolution larger than one year. The correction algorithm is used for frequencies of occurrence of radar reflectivities which enables its application even for radar products such as DWD's cell-tracking-product CONRAD.

Application (2004–2006) and validation (2007–2009) periods of this correction algorithm with rain gauges show an increased conformity for radar climatology after the statistical correction. In the years 2004 to 2006 the Root-Mean-Square-Error (RMSE) between mean annual rain amounts of rain gauges and corresponding radar pixels decreases from 262 mm to 118 mm excluding those pairs of values where the rain gauges are situated in areas of obviously corrupted radar data. The results for the validation period 2007 to 2009 are based on all pairs of values and show a decline of the RMSE from 322 mm to 174 mm.