Investigation of Liquid Cloud Microphysical Properties of Deep Convective Systems: 2. Parameterization of Raindrop Size Distribution and its Application for Convective Rain Estimation

Jingyu Wang, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The liquid cloud microphysical properties for stratiform rain (SR) have been investigated in Part 1 of this series. Since convective rain (CR) has characteristics in raindrop size distribution (DSD) and precipitation that are distinct from SR, we investigate the CR properties in this study by using 20 hr of CR samples collected by 17 Automatic Parsivel Units disdrometers during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site. A full spectrum of DSD is constructed based on a total of 23 size channels (0.321 to 9.785 mm), and both Gamma and Exponential fitted functions are applied to extract the DSD shape parameters. Compared to SR properties, CR has distinct features including broader size range and narrower exponential slope parameter (λE). These results indicate that the assumption of constant exponential intercept parameter (N0E) is inappropriate for CR rain rate estimates. Additionally, the subsetting scheme of the CR DSD spectra also has a strong impact on the Gamma/Exponential functions. Therefore, a new CR DSD parameterization scheme is developed by choosing the appropriate spectra subset with the constraint of rain rate and using the constant λE instead of constant N0E. With the input of the radar reflectivity at the lowest observed height, the newly calculated CR rain rates match well with the collocated surface rain gauge measurements (127 Mesonet stations and 17 Automatic Parsivel Units), while the rain rates calculated using traditional Z-R relationship are 3–4 times larger, indicating that constant λE is a better assumption for CR DSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11,637-11,651
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 27 2018



  • alternative DSD assumption
  • covective rain rate estimation
  • disdrometer-measured DSD
  • DSD fitting
  • DSD parameterization
  • Z-R relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology

Cite this