Using TRMM spaceborne radar as a reference for compensating ground-based radar range degradation: Methodology verification based on rain gauges in Israel

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While intense scientific efforts have focused on radar precipitation estimation in temperate climatic regimes, relatively few studies have examined dry climatic regions. This paper examines rain depth estimation for a 19 day rainfall period in Israel, where the gauge spatial distribution is particularly nonhomogeneous. This fact exacerbates the main drawback of rain gauge observations, which is undersampling. Meteorological ground‐ based radar (GR) can supplement the desired information on precipitation distribution. However, especially in a complex orographic region, radar scientists are faced with beam broadening with distance, nonhomogeneous beam filling, and partial‐beam occultation, together with changes in the vertical reflectivity profile. This paper presents an improvement of GR precipitation estimates thanks to a range adjustment based on spaceborne meteorological radar. In the past, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite radar was used for checking the GR mean field bias around the world. To our knowledge, however, it is the first time that GR‐derived cumulative rainfall amounts show a better agreement with gauges, thanks to the mean field bias and range‐ dependent compensation derived using the well‐calibrated Ku band TRMM radar as a reference. The average bias improves from +1.0 dB to −0.3 dB; more interesting and difficult to obtain is a reduction of the dispersion of the error. Using TRMM‐based range compensation, the scatter decreases from 2.21 dB to 1.93 dB. We conclude that it is well worth trying to compensate for the GR range degradation.