Agile-Beam Phased Array Radar for Weather Observations

D. S. Zrnic
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J. F. Kimpel
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D. E. Forsyth
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A. Shapiro
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G. Crain
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R. Ferek
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J. Heimmer
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W. Benner
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F T. J. McNellis
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R. J. Vogt
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Weather radars with conventional antenna cannot provide desired volume scan updates at intervals of one minute or less, which is essential for significant improvement in warning lead time of impending storm hazards. The agile-beam multimission phased array radar (MPAR) discussed herein is one potential candidate that can provide faster scanning. It also offers a unique potential for multipurpose use to not only sample weather, but support air traffic needs and track noncooperative airplanes, thus making it an affordable option. After introducing the basic idea behind electronic beam steering, the needs for frequent observations of convective weather are explained. Then, advantages of the phased array radar (PAR) for weather monitoring and improving data quality are examined. To explore and develop weather-related applications of the PAR, a National Weather Radar Testbed (NWRT) has been established in Norman, Oklahoma. The NWRT's main purpose is to address the advanced capabilities anticipated within the next decade so that these could be projected to a possible network of future weather radars. Examples of data illustrating advantages of this advanced radar are shown, and forthcoming plans are discussed.

NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia

Basic Commerce Industries, Moorestown, New Jersey

Federal Aviation Administration, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Moorestown, New Jersey

NOAA/Radar Operations Center, Norman, Oklahoma

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dusan Zrnic, NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072, E-mail: dusan.zrnic@noaa.gov

Weather radars with conventional antenna cannot provide desired volume scan updates at intervals of one minute or less, which is essential for significant improvement in warning lead time of impending storm hazards. The agile-beam multimission phased array radar (MPAR) discussed herein is one potential candidate that can provide faster scanning. It also offers a unique potential for multipurpose use to not only sample weather, but support air traffic needs and track noncooperative airplanes, thus making it an affordable option. After introducing the basic idea behind electronic beam steering, the needs for frequent observations of convective weather are explained. Then, advantages of the phased array radar (PAR) for weather monitoring and improving data quality are examined. To explore and develop weather-related applications of the PAR, a National Weather Radar Testbed (NWRT) has been established in Norman, Oklahoma. The NWRT's main purpose is to address the advanced capabilities anticipated within the next decade so that these could be projected to a possible network of future weather radars. Examples of data illustrating advantages of this advanced radar are shown, and forthcoming plans are discussed.

NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia

Basic Commerce Industries, Moorestown, New Jersey

Federal Aviation Administration, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Moorestown, New Jersey

NOAA/Radar Operations Center, Norman, Oklahoma

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dusan Zrnic, NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072, E-mail: dusan.zrnic@noaa.gov
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