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Simulation of the Orographic Influence on Weather Radar Using a Geometric–Optics Approach

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  • 1 Dipartimento di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
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Abstract

A computer code for radar site assessment, including ground clutter, beam occultation, and earth curvature–atmospheric refraction factors, has been developed. The code uses topographic information in the form of a raster Digital Elevation Model, air refractive index profile in the boundary layer, surface backscattering cross section per unit area at grazing angles as derived from literature, and ancillary information, if available, derived from a land use–land cover map. This algorithm is independent of a specific radar site and radar system. Several benefits in dealing with open problems of radar meteorology and of radar design could be derived from its use, namely, better estimate of precipitation at ground level through vertical echo profile correction, scanning strategy, land clutter measurements at low grazing angles, and characterization of seasonal and topographic effects. The raster-based approach used in implementing the code makes it compatible with any spatial resolution desired. Simplicity and short simulation times have been pursued as primary goals during the planning and implementation phases of the code. The result is a standard ANSI FORTRAN software that is portable, easy to use, and runs on an IBM-compatible PC. In its simplest version, the model needs only a raster Digital Elevation Model, the radar parameters, and an estimate of the mean atmospheric refraction.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Marco Gabella, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino, C.so Duca degli Abruzzi, 24, I-10129 Torino, Italy.

Email: gabella@phoen.polito.it

Abstract

A computer code for radar site assessment, including ground clutter, beam occultation, and earth curvature–atmospheric refraction factors, has been developed. The code uses topographic information in the form of a raster Digital Elevation Model, air refractive index profile in the boundary layer, surface backscattering cross section per unit area at grazing angles as derived from literature, and ancillary information, if available, derived from a land use–land cover map. This algorithm is independent of a specific radar site and radar system. Several benefits in dealing with open problems of radar meteorology and of radar design could be derived from its use, namely, better estimate of precipitation at ground level through vertical echo profile correction, scanning strategy, land clutter measurements at low grazing angles, and characterization of seasonal and topographic effects. The raster-based approach used in implementing the code makes it compatible with any spatial resolution desired. Simplicity and short simulation times have been pursued as primary goals during the planning and implementation phases of the code. The result is a standard ANSI FORTRAN software that is portable, easy to use, and runs on an IBM-compatible PC. In its simplest version, the model needs only a raster Digital Elevation Model, the radar parameters, and an estimate of the mean atmospheric refraction.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Marco Gabella, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino, C.so Duca degli Abruzzi, 24, I-10129 Torino, Italy.

Email: gabella@phoen.polito.it

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