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Radial-Based Noise Power Estimation for Weather Radars

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

A radar antenna intercepts thermal radiation from various sources including the ground, the sun, the sky, precipitation, and man-made radiators. In the radar receiver, this external radiation produces noise that constructively adds to the receiver internal noise and results in the overall system noise. Consequently, the system noise power is dependent on the antenna position and needs to be estimated accurately. Inaccurate noise power measurements may lead to reduction of coverage if the noise power is overestimated or to radar data images cluttered by noise speckles if the noise power is underestimated. Moreover, when an erroneous noise power is used at low-to-moderate signal-to-noise ratios, estimators can produce biased meteorological variables. Therefore, to obtain the best quality of radar products, it is desirable to compute meteorological variables using the noise power measured at each antenna position. In this paper, an effective method is proposed to estimate the noise power in real time from measured powers at each radial. The technique uses a set of criteria to detect radar range resolution volumes that do not contain weather signals and uses those to estimate the noise power. The algorithm is evaluated using both simulated and real time series data; results show that the proposed technique accurately produces estimates of the system noise power. An operational implementation of this technique is expected to significantly improve the quality of weather radar products with a relatively small computational burden.

Corresponding author address: Igor Ivić, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: igor.ivic@noaa.gov

Abstract

A radar antenna intercepts thermal radiation from various sources including the ground, the sun, the sky, precipitation, and man-made radiators. In the radar receiver, this external radiation produces noise that constructively adds to the receiver internal noise and results in the overall system noise. Consequently, the system noise power is dependent on the antenna position and needs to be estimated accurately. Inaccurate noise power measurements may lead to reduction of coverage if the noise power is overestimated or to radar data images cluttered by noise speckles if the noise power is underestimated. Moreover, when an erroneous noise power is used at low-to-moderate signal-to-noise ratios, estimators can produce biased meteorological variables. Therefore, to obtain the best quality of radar products, it is desirable to compute meteorological variables using the noise power measured at each antenna position. In this paper, an effective method is proposed to estimate the noise power in real time from measured powers at each radial. The technique uses a set of criteria to detect radar range resolution volumes that do not contain weather signals and uses those to estimate the noise power. The algorithm is evaluated using both simulated and real time series data; results show that the proposed technique accurately produces estimates of the system noise power. An operational implementation of this technique is expected to significantly improve the quality of weather radar products with a relatively small computational burden.

Corresponding author address: Igor Ivić, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: igor.ivic@noaa.gov
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