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Comparison of radar data versus rainfall data
- Espinosa, B., Hromadka, T.V., Perez, R.
- MethodsX 2015 v.2 pp. 423-431
- Doppler radar, meteorological data, rain, runoff, storms, topography, United States
- Doppler radar data are increasingly used in rainfall-runoff synthesis studies, perhaps due to radar data availability, among other factors. However, the veracity of the radar data are often a topic of concern. In this paper, three Doppler radar outcomes developed by the United States National Weather Service at three radar sites are examined and compared to actual rain gage data for two separate severe storm events in order to assess accuracy in the published radar estimates of rainfall. Because the subject storms were very intense rainfall events lasting approximately one hour in duration, direct comparisons between the three radar gages themselves can be made, as well as a comparison to rain gage data at a rain gage location subjected to the same storm cells. It is shown that topographic interference with the radar outcomes can be a significant factor leading to differences between radar and rain gage readings, and that care is needed in calibrating radar outcomes using available rain gage data in order to interpolate rainfall estimates between rain gages using the spatial variation observed in the radar readings. The paper establishes and describes•the need for “ground-truthing” of radar data, and•possible errors due to topographic interference.