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Principal Component Analysis of Doppler Radar Data. Part I: Geometric Connections between Eigenvectors and the Core Region of Atmospheric Vortices

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  • 1 Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

This is the first in a three-part series of papers that present the first applications of principal component analysis (PCA) to Doppler radar data. Although this novel approach has potential applications to many types of atmospheric phenomena, the specific goal of this series is to describe and verify a methodology that establishes the position and radial extent of the core region of atmospheric vortices. The underlying assumption in the current application is that the streamlines of the nondivergent component of the horizontal wind are predominantly circular, which is a characteristic often observed in intense vortices such as tropical cyclones.

The method employs an S2-mode PCA on the Doppler velocity data taken from a single surveillance scan and arranged sequentially in a matrix according to the range and azimuth coordinates. Part I begins the series by examining the eigenvectors obtained from such a PCA applied to a Doppler velocity model for a modified, Rankine-combined vortex, where the ratio of the radius of maximum wind to the range from the radar to the circulation center is varied over a wide range of values typically encountered in the field. Results show that the first two eigenvectors within the eigenspace of range coordinates represent over 99% of the total variance in the data. It is also demonstrated that the coordinates of particular cusps in the curves of the eigenvector coefficients plotted against their indices are geometrically related to both the position of circulation center and the radius of maximum wind.

* Current affiliation: Visiting Scientist Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Corresponding author address: Dr. Paul R. Harasti, UCAR Project Scientist, Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, 7 Grace Hopper Avenue, MS-2, Monterey, CA 93943-5502. Email: paul.harasti@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

This is the first in a three-part series of papers that present the first applications of principal component analysis (PCA) to Doppler radar data. Although this novel approach has potential applications to many types of atmospheric phenomena, the specific goal of this series is to describe and verify a methodology that establishes the position and radial extent of the core region of atmospheric vortices. The underlying assumption in the current application is that the streamlines of the nondivergent component of the horizontal wind are predominantly circular, which is a characteristic often observed in intense vortices such as tropical cyclones.

The method employs an S2-mode PCA on the Doppler velocity data taken from a single surveillance scan and arranged sequentially in a matrix according to the range and azimuth coordinates. Part I begins the series by examining the eigenvectors obtained from such a PCA applied to a Doppler velocity model for a modified, Rankine-combined vortex, where the ratio of the radius of maximum wind to the range from the radar to the circulation center is varied over a wide range of values typically encountered in the field. Results show that the first two eigenvectors within the eigenspace of range coordinates represent over 99% of the total variance in the data. It is also demonstrated that the coordinates of particular cusps in the curves of the eigenvector coefficients plotted against their indices are geometrically related to both the position of circulation center and the radius of maximum wind.

* Current affiliation: Visiting Scientist Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Corresponding author address: Dr. Paul R. Harasti, UCAR Project Scientist, Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, 7 Grace Hopper Avenue, MS-2, Monterey, CA 93943-5502. Email: paul.harasti@nrlmry.navy.mil

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