The millimeter-wave cloud radar, ceilometer, and disdrometer have been widely used to observe clouds and precipitation. However, there are some drawbacks when those three instruments are solely employed due to their own limitations, such as the fact that radars usually suffer from signal attenuation and ceilometers/disdrometers cannot provide measurements of the hydrometeors of aloft clouds and precipitation. Thus, in this paper, we developed an integrated technology by combining and utilizing the advantages of three instruments together to investigate the vertical structure and diurnal variation of warm clouds and precipitation, and the raindrop size distribution. Specifically, the technology consists of appropriate data processing, quality control, and retrieval methods. It was implemented to study the warm clouds and precipitation in South China during the pre-flood season of 2016. The results showed that the hydrometeors of warm clouds and precipitation were mainly distributed below 2.5 km and most of the rainfall events were very light with a rain rate less than 1 mm h−1
, however, the stronger precipitation primarily contributed the accumulated rain amount. Furthermore, a rising trend of cloud base height from 1000 to 1900 BJT was found. The cloud top height and cloud thickness gradually increased from 1200 BJT to reach a maximum at 1600 BJT (Beijing Standard Time, UTC+8), and then decreased until 2000 BJT. Also, three periods of the apparent rainfall on the ground of the day, namely, 0400–0700 BJT, 1400–1800 BJT, and 2300–2400 BJT were observed. During three periods, the raindrops had wider size spectra, higher number concentrations, larger rain rates, and higher water contents than at other times. The hydrometeor type, size, and concentration were gradually changed in the vertical orientation. The raindrop size distributions of warm precipitation in the air and on the ground were different, which can be expressed by
distributions N(D) = 1.49 × 104
exp(−6.79D) in the air and N(D) = 1.875 × 103
exp(−2.444D) on the ground, where D and N(D) denote the diameter and number concentration of the raindrops, respectively.
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