Articles | Volume 13, issue 5
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1229–1241, 2013

Special issue: 13th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms: disasters...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1229–1241, 2013

Research article 16 May 2013

Research article | 16 May 2013

Coupling X-band dual-polarized mini-radars and hydro-meteorological forecast models: the HYDRORAD project

E. Picciotti1, F. S. Marzano2, E. N. Anagnostou3, J. Kalogiros4, Y. Fessas5, A. Volpi6, V. Cazac7, R. Pace8, G. Cinque1, L. Bernardini1, K. De Sanctis1, S. Di Fabio1, M. Montopoli2,9, M. N. Anagnostou5, A. Telleschi6, E. Dimitriou10, and J. Stella3 E. Picciotti et al.
  • 1HIMET srl, SS 17 Ovest n.36, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 2CETEMPS, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 3University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
  • 4NOA National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 5PROPLAN, Str. Ergates Industrial Estate, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 6ELDES srl, Via di Porto 2/b, Scandicci (FI), Italy
  • 7SHS Serviciul Hidrometeorologic de Stat, Chisinau, Moldova
  • 8MICC Camera de Comert Italo-Moldava, Chisinau, Moldova
  • 9Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 10HMCR Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Athens, Greece

Abstract. Hydro-meteorological hazards like convective outbreaks leading to torrential rain and floods are among the most critical environmental issues world-wide. In that context weather radar observations have proven to be very useful in providing information on the spatial distribution of rainfall that can support early warning of floods. However, quantitative precipitation estimation by radar is subjected to many limitations and uncertainties. The use of dual-polarization at high frequency (i.e. X-band) has proven particularly useful for mitigating some of the limitation of operational systems, by exploiting the benefit of easiness to transport and deploy and the high spatial and temporal resolution achievable at small antenna sizes. New developments on X-band dual-polarization technology in recent years have received the interest of scientific and operational communities in these systems. New enterprises are focusing on the advancement of cost-efficient mini-radar network technology, based on high-frequency (mainly X-band) and low-power weather radar systems for weather monitoring and hydro-meteorological forecasting.

Within the above context, the main objective of the HYDRORAD project was the development of an innovative \mbox{integrated} decision support tool for weather monitoring and hydro-meteorological applications. The integrated system tool is based on a polarimetric X-band mini-radar network which is the core of the decision support tool, a novel radar products generator and a hydro-meteorological forecast modelling system that ingests mini-radar rainfall products to forecast precipitation and floods.

The radar products generator includes algorithms for attenuation correction, hydrometeor classification, a vertical profile reflectivity correction, a new polarimetric rainfall estimators developed for mini-radar observations, and short-term nowcasting of convective cells. The hydro-meteorological modelling system includes the Mesoscale Model 5 (MM5) and the Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center hydrologic and hydraulic modelling chain. The characteristics of this tool make it ideal to support flood monitoring and forecasting within urban environment and small-scale basins. Preliminary results, carried out during a field campaign in Moldova, showed that the mini-radar based hydro-meteorological forecasting system can constitute a suitable solution for local flood warning and civil flood protection applications.