Radar reflectivity (Zh), differential reflectivity (Zdr), and specific differential phase (Kdp) measured from the operational, polarimetric weather radar located in Trappes, France, were used to examine the effects of radar beam shielding on rainfall estimation. The objective of this study is to investigate the degree of immunity of Kdp-based rainfall estimates to beam shielding for C-band radar data during four typical rain events encountered in Europe. The rain events include two cold frontal rainbands with average rainfall rates of 7 and 17 mm h−1, respectively, and two summertime convective rain events with average rainfall rates of 11 and 22 mm h−1.;
The large effects of beam shielding on rainfall accumulation were observed for algorithms using Zh and Zdr with differences of up to ∼2 dB (40%) compared to a Kdp-based algorithm over a power loss range of 0–8 dB. This analysis reveals that Zdr and Kdp are not affected by partial beam shielding. Standard reflectivity corrections based on the degree of beam shielding would have overestimated rainfall rates by up to 1.5 dB for less than 40% beam shielding and up to 3 dB for beam shielding less than 75%. The investigation also examined the sensitivity of beam shielding effects on rainfall rate estimation to (i) axis–ratio parameterization and drop size distribution, (ii) methods used to smooth profiles of differential propagation phase (ϕdp) and estimate Kdp, and (iii) event-to-event variability. Although rainfall estimates were sensitive to drop size distribution and axis–ratio parameterization, differences between Zh- and Kdp-based rainfall rates increased independently from those parameters with amount of shielding. Different approaches to smoothing ϕdp profiles and estimating Kdp were examined and showed little impact on results.