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Fixed-Antenna Pointing-Angle Calibration of Airborne Doppler Cloud Radar

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
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Abstract

Doppler velocity measurements from airborne meteorological Doppler radars require removal of the aircraft motion contribution in order to provide radial velocity of hydrometeor targets. This is a critical step for hydrometeor motion and wind retrievals. The aircraft motion contribution is defined as the scalar product between the radar antenna beam-pointing vector and the aircraft velocity vector at the antenna phase center. The accuracy in the removal of the aircraft velocity contribution is determined by the accuracy of the beam-pointing vector, the rigidity of the antenna mount, and the accuracy of the aircraft attitude and velocity measurements. In this paper an optimization technique is proposed to determine the antenna beam-pointing vector and to analyze its uncertainties using aircraft attitude and velocity data from a GPS-aided inertial measurement unit and radar observations of the earth surface. The technique is applied to Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) on the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) aircraft. The beam-pointing vectors of the two fixed downward-pointing WCR antennas are calibrated using data selected from several calibration flights. The maximum root-mean-square error in the calibrated beam-pointing angles is smaller than 0.03°, resulting in less than 0.1 m s−1 aircraft motion residual error in the Doppler velocities after removing the aircraft motion contribution. Some applicability and limitations to other airborne Doppler radars with fixed antennas are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Samuel Haimov, University of Wyoming, Department 3038, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. E-mail: haimov@uwyo.edu

Abstract

Doppler velocity measurements from airborne meteorological Doppler radars require removal of the aircraft motion contribution in order to provide radial velocity of hydrometeor targets. This is a critical step for hydrometeor motion and wind retrievals. The aircraft motion contribution is defined as the scalar product between the radar antenna beam-pointing vector and the aircraft velocity vector at the antenna phase center. The accuracy in the removal of the aircraft velocity contribution is determined by the accuracy of the beam-pointing vector, the rigidity of the antenna mount, and the accuracy of the aircraft attitude and velocity measurements. In this paper an optimization technique is proposed to determine the antenna beam-pointing vector and to analyze its uncertainties using aircraft attitude and velocity data from a GPS-aided inertial measurement unit and radar observations of the earth surface. The technique is applied to Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) on the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) aircraft. The beam-pointing vectors of the two fixed downward-pointing WCR antennas are calibrated using data selected from several calibration flights. The maximum root-mean-square error in the calibrated beam-pointing angles is smaller than 0.03°, resulting in less than 0.1 m s−1 aircraft motion residual error in the Doppler velocities after removing the aircraft motion contribution. Some applicability and limitations to other airborne Doppler radars with fixed antennas are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Samuel Haimov, University of Wyoming, Department 3038, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. E-mail: haimov@uwyo.edu
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