This paper describes a new methodology to process C-band radar data for direct use as rainfall input to hydrologic and hydrodynamic models and in real time control of urban drainage systems. In contrast to the adjustment of radar data with the help of rain gauges, the new approach accounts for the microphysical properties of current rainfall. In a first step radar data are corrected for attenuation. This phenomenon has been identified as the main cause for the general underestimation of radar rainfall. Systematic variation of the attenuation coefficients within predefined bounds allows robust reflectivity profiling. Secondly, event specific RZ relations are applied to the corrected radar reflectivity data in order to generate quantitative reliable radar rainfall estimates. The results of the methodology are validated by a network of 37 rain gauges located in the Emscher and Lippe river basins. Finally, the relevance of the correction methodology for radar rainfall forecasts is demonstrated. It has become clearly obvious, that the new methodology significantly improves the radar rainfall estimation and rainfall forecasts. The algorithms are applicable in real time.

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