Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
Research article
21 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 21 Jul 2014

The next generation airborne polarimetric Doppler weather radar

J. Vivekanandan, W.-C. Lee, E. Loew, J. L. Salazar, V. Grubišić, J. Moore, and P. Tsai

Abstract. Results from airborne field deployments emphasized the need to obtain concurrently high temporal and spatial resolution measurements of 3-D winds and microphysics. A phased array radar on an airborne platform using dual-polarization antenna has the potential for retrieving high-resolution, collocated 3-D winds and microphysical measurements. Recently, ground-based phased array radar (PAR) has demonstrated the high time-resolution estimation of accurate Doppler velocity and reflectivity of precipitation and clouds when compared to mechanically scanning radar. PAR uses the electronic scanning (e-scan) to rapidly collect radar measurements. Since an airborne radar has a limited amount of time to collect measurements over a specified sample volume, the e-scan will significantly enhance temporal and spatial resolution of airborne radar observations. At present, airborne weather radars use mechanical scans, and they are not designed for collecting dual-polarization measurements to remotely estimate microphysics. This paper presents a possible configuration of a novel airborne phased array radar (APAR) to be installed on an aircraft for retrieving improved dynamical and microphysical scientific products. The proposed APAR would replace the aging, X-band Electra Doppler radar (ELDORA). The ELDORA X-band radar's penetration into precipitation is limited by attenuation. Since attenuation at C-band is lower than at X-band, the design specification of a C-band airborne phased array radar (APAR) and its measurement accuracies are presented. Preliminary design specifications suggest the proposed APAR will meet or exceed ELDORA's current sensitivity, spatial resolution and Doppler measurement accuracies of ELDORA and it will also acquire dual-polarization measurements.