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Automatic Detection of Wind Turbine Clutter for Weather Radars

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  • 1 School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 Atmospheric Radar Research Center and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Atmospheric Radar Research Center and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

Wind turbines cause contamination of weather radar signals that is often detrimental and difficult to distinguish from cloud returns. Because the turbines are always at the same location, it would seem simple to identify where wind turbine clutter (WTC) contaminates the weather radar data. However, under certain atmospheric conditions, anomalous propagation of the radar beam can occur such that WTC corrupts weather data on constantly evolving locations, or WTC can be relatively weak such that contamination on predetermined locations does not occur. Because of the deficiency of using turbine locations as a proxy for WTC, an effective detection algorithm is proposed to perform automatic flagging of contaminated weather radar data, which can then be censored or filtered. Thus, harmful effects can be reduced that may propagate to automatic algorithms or may hamper the forecaster’s ability to issue timely warnings. In this work, temporal and spectral features related to WTC signatures are combined in a fuzzy logic algorithm to classify the radar return as being contaminated by WTC or not. The performance of the algorithm is quantified using simulations and the algorithm is applied to a real data case from the radar facility in Dodge City, Kansas (KDDC). The results illustrate that WTC contamination can be detected automatically, thereby improving the quality control of weather radar data.

Corresponding author address: Sebastián Torres, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: sebastian.torres@noaa.gov

Abstract

Wind turbines cause contamination of weather radar signals that is often detrimental and difficult to distinguish from cloud returns. Because the turbines are always at the same location, it would seem simple to identify where wind turbine clutter (WTC) contaminates the weather radar data. However, under certain atmospheric conditions, anomalous propagation of the radar beam can occur such that WTC corrupts weather data on constantly evolving locations, or WTC can be relatively weak such that contamination on predetermined locations does not occur. Because of the deficiency of using turbine locations as a proxy for WTC, an effective detection algorithm is proposed to perform automatic flagging of contaminated weather radar data, which can then be censored or filtered. Thus, harmful effects can be reduced that may propagate to automatic algorithms or may hamper the forecaster’s ability to issue timely warnings. In this work, temporal and spectral features related to WTC signatures are combined in a fuzzy logic algorithm to classify the radar return as being contaminated by WTC or not. The performance of the algorithm is quantified using simulations and the algorithm is applied to a real data case from the radar facility in Dodge City, Kansas (KDDC). The results illustrate that WTC contamination can be detected automatically, thereby improving the quality control of weather radar data.

Corresponding author address: Sebastián Torres, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: sebastian.torres@noaa.gov

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