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The relationship between precipitation and its spatial pattern in the trades observed during EUREC4A
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  • Jule Radtke,
  • Ann Kristin Naumann,
  • Martin Hagen,
  • Felix Ament
Jule Radtke
Universität Hamburg, Universität Hamburg

Corresponding Author:jule.radtke@uni-hamburg.de

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Ann Kristin Naumann
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
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Martin Hagen
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt
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Felix Ament
Universität Hamburg, Universität Hamburg
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Trade wind convection organises into a rich spectrum of spatial patterns, often in conjunction with precipitation development. Which role spatial organisation plays for precipitation and vice versa is not well understood. We analyse scenes of trade wind convection scanned by the C-band radar Poldirad during the EUREC4A field campaign to investigate how trade wind precipitation fields are spatially organised, quantified by the cells’ number, mean size and spatial arrangement, and how this matters for precipitation characteristics. We find that the mean rain rate, i.e. the amount of precipitation in a scene, and the intensity of precipitation (mean conditional rain rate) relate differently to the spatial pattern of precipitation. While the amount of precipitation increases with mean cell size or number, as it scales well with the precipitation fraction, the intensity increases predominantly with mean cell size. In dry scenes, the increase of precipitation intensity with mean cell size is stronger than in moist scenes. Dry scenes usually contain fewer cells with a higher degree of clustering than moist scenes. High precipitation intensities hence typically occur in dry scenes with rather large, few and strongly clustered cells, while high precipitation amounts typically occur in moist scenes with rather large, numerous and weakly clustered cells. As cell size influences both the intensity and amount of precipitation, its importance is highlighted. Our analyses suggest that the cells’ spatial arrangement, correlating mainly weakly with precipitation characteristics, is of second order importance for precipitation across all regimes, but could be important for high precipitation intensities and to maintain precipitation amounts in dry environments.