Optical imaging of raindrops provides important information on the statistical distribution of raindrop size and raindrop shape. These distributions are critical for extracting rainfall rates from both dual- and single-polarization radar signals. A large number of raindrop images are required to obtain these statistics, necessitating automatic processing of the imagery. The accuracy of the measured drop size depends critically on the characteristics of the digital image processing algorithm used to identify and size the drop. Additionally, the algorithm partially determines the effective depth of field of the camera∕image processing system. Because a large number of drop images are required to obtain accurate statistics, a large depth of field is needed, which tends to increase errors in drop size measurement. This trade-off between accuracy and depth of field () is also affected by the algorithm used to identify the drop outline. In this paper, eight edge detection algorithms are investigated and compared to determine which is best suited for accurately extracting the drop outline and measuring the diameter of an imaged raindrop while maintaining a relatively large depth of field. The algorithm which overall gave the largest along with the most accurate estimate of the size of the drop was the Hueckel algorithm [J. Assoc. Comput. Mach. 20, 634 (1973)].
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