Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Krajewski, Witold F

First Committee Member

Bradley, Allen A

Second Committee Member

Kruger, Anton

Third Committee Member

Smith, James A

Fourth Committee Member

Weber, Larry J


Networks of small, often mobile, polarimetric radars are gaining popularity in the hydrometeorology community due to their rainfall observing capabilities and relative low purchase cost. In recent years, a number of installations have become operational around the globe. The problem of signal attenuation by intervening rainfall has been recognized as the major source of error in rainfall estimation by short-wavelength (C-, X, K-band) radars. The simultaneous observation of precipitation by multiple radars creates new prospects for better and more robust attenuation correction algorithms and, consequently, yields more accurate rainfall estimation.

The University of Iowa hydrometeorology group's acquisition of a network of four mobile, polarimetric, X-band radars has resulted in the need for a thoughtful evaluation of the instrument. In this work, we use computer simulations and the data collected by The University of Iowa Polarimetric Radar Network to study the performance of attenuation correction methods in single-radar and network-based arrangements.

To support the computer simulations, we developed a comprehensive polarimetric radar network simulator, which replicates the essential aspects of the radar network rainfall observing process. The simulations are based on a series of physics- and stochastic-based simulated rainfall events occurring over the area of interest. The characteristics of the simulated radars are those of The University of Iowa Polarimetric Radar Network. We assess the correction methods by analyzing the errors in reflectivity and rainfall rate over the area of interest covered by the network's radars. To enable the implementation of the attenuation correction methods to the data collected by The University of Iowa Polarimetric Radar Network, we first developed a set of utilities to assist with efficient data collection and analysis. Next, we conducted a series of calibration tests to evaluate the relative calibration and channel balance of the 2 network's radars. Finally, in an attempt to verify the results obtained via computer simulations, we applied the set of attenuation correction algorithms to the data collected by The University of Iowa Polarimetric Radar Network.


attenuation correction, Polarimetric radar networks, radar network simulator, X-band radar


xvi, 237 pages


Includes bibliographical references (page 229).


Copyright 2012 Piotr Domaszczynski