On the Alternate Transmission Mode for Polarimetric Phased Array Weather Radar

Valery M. Melnikov Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Dušan S. Zrnić NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Abstract

Pulse-to-pulse switching of polarizations (alternate transmission mode) is considered for polarimetric phased array radar (PAR). It is argued that the performance of the radar in terms of data quality should match or exceed the achieved standards of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D). It turns out that the most stringent demand on the radar concerns the surveillance scan at the lowest elevations wherein the polarimetric variables are free of overlaid echoes, while ground clutter is significantly reduced. The scan uses a long pulse repetition time that has repercussion on the standard errors of the polarimetric variables and hence the choice of polarimetric mode. Herein the dwell time of this scan serves as a benchmark for comparisons of the accuracy of estimates. Because weather PAR should provide useful information at low signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) as low as those measured by the WSR-88D, the statistics of polarimetric variables, known at high SNR, is extended to low SNRs. It follows that the alternate mode would not match the performance of the simultaneous mode in the surveillance scans on the WSR-88D. Quasi-simultaneous transmission and reception of horizontally polarized and vertically polarized waves is discussed as a cost-effective alternative.

Corresponding author address: Valery M. Melnikov, CIMMS, University of Oklahoma, 120 David Boren Blvd., Room 4919, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: valery.melnikov@noaa.gov

Abstract

Pulse-to-pulse switching of polarizations (alternate transmission mode) is considered for polarimetric phased array radar (PAR). It is argued that the performance of the radar in terms of data quality should match or exceed the achieved standards of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D). It turns out that the most stringent demand on the radar concerns the surveillance scan at the lowest elevations wherein the polarimetric variables are free of overlaid echoes, while ground clutter is significantly reduced. The scan uses a long pulse repetition time that has repercussion on the standard errors of the polarimetric variables and hence the choice of polarimetric mode. Herein the dwell time of this scan serves as a benchmark for comparisons of the accuracy of estimates. Because weather PAR should provide useful information at low signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) as low as those measured by the WSR-88D, the statistics of polarimetric variables, known at high SNR, is extended to low SNRs. It follows that the alternate mode would not match the performance of the simultaneous mode in the surveillance scans on the WSR-88D. Quasi-simultaneous transmission and reception of horizontally polarized and vertically polarized waves is discussed as a cost-effective alternative.

Corresponding author address: Valery M. Melnikov, CIMMS, University of Oklahoma, 120 David Boren Blvd., Room 4919, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: valery.melnikov@noaa.gov
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