This study compares and evaluates single-polarization (SP)- and dual-polarization (DP)-based radar rainfall (RR) estimates using NEXRAD data acquired during Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS), a NASA GPM ground validation field campaign carried out in May-June 2013. The objective of this study is to understand the potential benefit of the DP quantitative precipitation estimation, which selects different rain-rate estimators according to radar-identified precipitation types, and to evaluate RR estimates generated by the recent research SP and DP algorithms. The Iowa Flood Center SP (IFC-SP) and Colorado State University DP(CSU-DP) products are analyzed and assessed using two high-density, high-quality rain gauge networks as ground reference. The CSU-DP algorithm shows superior performance to the IFC-SP algorithm, especially for heavy convective rains. We verify that dynamic changes in the proportion of heavy rain during the convective period are associated with the improved performance of CSU-DP rainfall estimates. For a lighter rain case, the IFC-SP and CSU-DP products are not significantly different in statistical metrics and visual agreement with the rain gauge data. This is because both algorithms use the identical NEXRAD reflectivity- rain rate (Z-R) relation that might lead to substantial underestimation for the presented case.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Publication Status

Full Access

Keywords and Phrases

Radars/Radar observations; Remote sensing

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1525-7541; 1525-755X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2015