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Open AccessArticle

Radar-Based Precipitation Climatology in Germany—Developments, Uncertainties and Potentials

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Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Schneiderberg 50, 30167 Hannover, Germany
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Institute of Bio- and Geosciences IBG-3, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany
3
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research ZALF, Eberswalder Straße 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020217
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 11 February 2020 / Accepted: 19 February 2020 / Published: 21 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Hydrology and QPE Uncertainties)
Precipitation is a crucial driver for many environmental processes and weather radars are capable of providing precipitation information with high spatial and temporal resolution. However, radar-based quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) are also subject to various potential uncertainties. This study explored the development, uncertainties and potentials of the hourly operational German radar-based and gauge-adjusted QPE called RADOLAN and its reanalyzed radar climatology dataset named RADKLIM in comparison to ground-truth rain gauge data. The precipitation datasets were statistically analyzed across various time scales ranging from annual and seasonal aggregations to hourly rainfall intensities in regard to their capability to map long-term precipitation distribution, to detect low intensity rainfall and to capture heavy rainfall. Moreover, the impacts of season, orography and distance from the radar on long-term precipitation sums were examined in order to evaluate dataset performance and to describe inherent biases. Results revealed that both radar products tend to underestimate total precipitation sums and particularly high intensity rainfall. However, our analyses also showed significant improvements throughout the RADOLAN time series as well as major advances through the climatologic reanalysis regarding the correction of typical radar artefacts, orographic and winter precipitation as well as range-dependent attenuation. View Full-Text
Keywords: weather radar; rain gauge; rainfall; QPE; RADOLAN; RADKLIM; GIS; radar climatology; uncertainties weather radar; rain gauge; rainfall; QPE; RADOLAN; RADKLIM; GIS; radar climatology; uncertainties
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Kreklow, J.; Tetzlaff, B.; Burkhard, B.; Kuhnt, G. Radar-Based Precipitation Climatology in Germany—Developments, Uncertainties and Potentials. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 217.

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