The effect of curve fits for the disdrometer calibration on raindrop spectra, rainfall rate, and radar reflectivity

G. M. McFarquhar, R. List

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Peaks in number density observed by many authors using Joss-Waldvogel disdrometers are almost certainly due to the manner in which a best-fit curve was chosen to represent the calibration data. The extreme sensitivity to small changes in the calibration curve was demonstrated with extensive observations of Malaysian tropical rain, which for best-fit calibrations showed multiple peaks; however, when a linear interpolation between calibration points was applied, only single peaks were seen in this first, recalibrated dataset. Hence, field evidence for multiple peak equilibrium distributions obtained in numerical models should be reconsidered. On the other hand, the rainfall and radar reflectivity, calculated from best fits, differ by less than 4% from that based on linear interpolation between calibration points. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-782
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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