The significant ambiguities inherent in the determination of a particular vertical rain intensity profile from a given time profile of radar echo powers measured by a downward-looking (spaceborne or airborne) radar at a single attenuating frequency are well documented. Indeed, one already knows that by appropriately varying the parameters of the reflectivity-rain rate (Z-R) and/or attenuation-rain rate (k- R) relationships one can produce several substantially different rain-rate profiles that would produce the same radar power profile. Imposing the additional constraint that the path-averaged rain rate be a given fixed number does reduce the ambiguities but falls far short of eliminating them. While formulas to generate all mutually ambiguous rain-rate profiles from a given profile of received radar reflectivities have already been derived, there remains to be produced a quantitative measure to assess how likely each of these profiles is, what the appropriate "average" profile should be, and what the "variance" of these multiple solutions is. To do this, one needs to spell out the stochastic constraints that can allow us to make sense of the words "average" and "variance" in a mathematically rigorous way. Such a quantitative approach would be particularly well suited for such systems as the planned precipitation radar of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Indeed, one would then be able to use the radar reflectivities measured by the TRMM radar to estimate the rain-rate profile that would most likely have produced the measurements, as well as the uncertainty in the estimated rain rates as a function of range. Such an optimal approach is described in this paper.
Meteorology and Climatology
Journal of Applied Meteorology; Volume 35; No. 2; 213-228