U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Estimation of Depolarization Ratio Using Modern Dual-polarization Weather Radars
Published: June 12, 2017
Posted: January 23, 2018

New technique may provide better information about updrafts, ice, and hail within convective clouds.

The Science
Depolarization ratio (DR) was historically the first polarimetric radar variable measured by dual-polarization weather radars. Depolarization ratio can provide information about particle phase (water or ice) and shape. However, this important variable is not measured by modern radars with simultaneous transmission/reception of orthogonally polarized waves, although they do measure other polarimetric variables. A new technique allowing for estimating depolarization ratio on a fleet of scanning dual-polarization ARM radars is suggested.

The Impact
This technique, if implemented on a fleet of scanning dual-polarization radars, such as those maintained by the DOE ARM scientific user facility and used in DOE’s Atmospheric System Research program, will greatly enhance their utility for microphysical characterization of clouds and precipitation.

A special signal-processing routine combined with the use of a high-power phase shifter makes it possible to measure depolarization without compromising measurements of other polarimetric variables. The feasibility of the recommended approach has been demonstrated using observations with S, C, and X-band dual-polarization weather radars. Among potential applications, four major challenging practical tasks can be addressed using depolarization ratio measurements: 1) identification and quantification of deep convective updrafts, 2) detection of hail and determination of its size above the melting layer, 3) discrimination between various habits of ice aloft, and 4) identification and quantification of riming processes associated with the presence of super-cooled cloud water.

Contacts (BER PM)
Shaima Nasiri
Atmospheric System Research

Ashley Williamson
Atmospheric System Research

(PI Contact)
Alexander Ryzkhov
National Severe Storms Laboratory

Funding for some of the authors was provided by NOAA/Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research under NOAA - University of Oklahoma Cooperative Agreement NA11OAR4320072, U.S. Department of Commerce. Sergey Matrosov was sponsored in part by the US Department of Energy Atmospheric System Program under award number DE-SC0013306. Research based on the Bonn X-band radar was carried out in the framework of the Hans-Ertel-Centre for Weather Research (http://www.herz-tb1.uni-bonn.de/) funded by the BMVBS (Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development) and the SFB/TR 32 (Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 32, http://www.tr32.de/) funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation)

Ryzhkov, A., S. Matrosov, V. Melnikov, D. Zrnic, P. Zhang, Q. Cao, M. Knight, C. Simmer, and S. Troemel. "Estimation of Depolarization Ratio Using Weather Radars with Simultaneous Transmission/Reception." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 12 July (2017). [DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0098.1]

Related Links
ASR Highlight: Estimation of Depolarization Ratio Using Modern Dual-polarization Weather Radars

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)