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Open AccessArticle

A Bayesian Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm for C-Band Polarimetric Radar

1,2, 1,2,*, 3, 1,2, 1,2 and 4
Key Laboratory for Mesoscale Severe Weather/MOE and School of Atmospheric Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210003, China
State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather and Joint Center for Atmospheric Radar Research of China Meteorological Administration and Nanjing University, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
School of Meteorology and Advanced Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1884;
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 7 August 2019 / Accepted: 7 August 2019 / Published: 12 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Atmosphere Remote Sensing)
PDF [4568 KB, uploaded 12 August 2019]


A hydrometeor classification algorithm is developed by applying Bayes’ theorem to C-band polarimetric weather radar measurements. The Bayesian hydrometeor classification algorithm (BHCA) includes eight hydrometeor types: hail, rain, graupel, dry snow, wet snow, crystal, biological scatterers (BS) and ground clutter (GC). The conditional likelihood probability distribution functions (PDFs) for each hydrometeor type are constructed with training data from radar observations. The prior PDFs include not only temperature information but also background information about occurrence frequency of hydrometeor types at each altitude, which is incorporated by a hydrometeor classification algorithm for the first time. The BHCA is evaluated by comparing with the Marzano-Bayesian hydrometeor classification algorithm (MBHC) and NCAR fuzzy logic classifier (NFLC). Results show that wet snow is largely missed in MBHC, while crystals are not adequately identified by NFLC. This may be due to the inappropriate conditional likelihood PDFs or membership functions. The prior PDFs in the MBHC may cause unexpected hail due to unreasonable variation above 0 °C. In addition, the prior PDFs of graupel and dry snow in the MBHC appear below −52 °C, which is not realistic. The BHCA proposed in this study overcomes these shortcomings in the prior PDFs and produces an overall reasonable classification product over the Yangtze-Huaihe River Basin (YHRB), Eastern China. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrometeor classification; polarimetric radar; Bayes’ theorem; prior PDFs; conditional likelihood hydrometeor classification; polarimetric radar; Bayes’ theorem; prior PDFs; conditional likelihood

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Yang, J.; Zhao, K.; Zhang, G.; Chen, G.; Huang, H.; Chen, H. A Bayesian Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm for C-Band Polarimetric Radar. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1884.

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