DETECTION OF HAIL THROUGH THE THREE BODY SCATTERING SIGNATURES AND ITS EFFECTS ON RADAR ALGORITHMS OBSERVED IN ROMANIA

Daniel Victor Carbunaru, Roxana Monica Sasu, Sorin Ionut Burcea, Aurora Bell

Abstract

The Romanian National Meteorological Administration (NMA) radar network consists of five S-band and four C-band radars. Observation of convection in Romania through the Doppler radar network offered a new perspective in understanding the climatologic risk of certain regions and mesoscale environments. Highly organized convective systems, such as supercells, are better observed and their subsequent threat can be better anticipated during the nowcasting process using Doppler velocity fields and detection algorithmssuch as mesocyclones (MESO) and tornadic vortex signature (TVS). However, for warning purposes,these tools cannot be used without a subjective validation because of the associated errors and limitations of radar observations. In this paper several cases are presented where the presence of large hail inside the storm produced a radar artifact named three-body scatter signature (TBSS) that disturbed the Doppler velocity field. The cases presented were observed with S-band radars and were associated with hail reports on the ground. The first case shows a TBSS whose radial Doppler velocities are negative due to the falling hydrometeors. The second case is a less frequent event; there the Doppler velocities in the TBSS region are positive due to the updraft. The third case has both positive and negative values in the TBSS region; it is ocurred in a supercell that affected the city of Varna in Bulgaria with large hail. The positive values were associated with the overhang region in the rotational updraft at upper heights, while the negative values in the regions outside the rotational updraft at lower heights, were associated with the downdrafts. Features produced by the TBSS have perturbed the output of the MESO and TVS algorithms by introducing false strong values of wind shear that have been interpreted as rotation. Thus false mesocyclonic and tornadic vortex signatures were generated. In some of the cases large hail and weak tornadoes were reported, so the presence of a TBSS was a challenge for the nowcasters. In the last part of the paper we analyze the link between the TBSS appearance with reports of large hail at the ground in 2009 within the coverage area of the Romanian S-band radars, which also cover parts of Hungary, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Serbia. The results show that the TBSS artifact is a strong indicator of large size hail.

Keywords

Three-body scatter signature, radial Doppler velocity field, hail, downdraft, updraft

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