Abstract

As the existing NEXRAD radar network nears the end of its lifecycle, intense study and planning are underway to design a viable replacement system. Ideally, such a system would offer improved temporal resolution compared to NEXRAD, without a loss in data quality. In this study, scan speedup techniques–such as beam multiplexing (BMX) and radar imaging–are tested to assess their viability in obtaining high-quality rapid updates for a simulated long-range weather radar. The results of this study–which uses aWeather Research & Forecasting (WRF) simulated supercell case–show that BMX generally improves data quality for a given scan time or can provide a speedup factor of 1.69–2.85 compared to NEXRAD while maintaining the same level of data quality. Additionally, radar imaging is shown to improve data quality and/or decrease scan time when selectively used; however, deleterious effects are observed when imaging is used in regions with sharp reflectivity gradients parallel to the beam spoiling direction. Consideration must be given to the subsequent loss of sensitivity and beam broadening. Finally, imaging is shown to have an effect on the radar-derived mesocyclone strength (ΔV) of a simulated supercell. Because BMX and radar imaging are most easily achieved with an all-digital phased array radar (PAR), these results make a strong argument for the use of all-digital PAR for high-resolution weather observations. It is believed that the results from this study can inform decisions about possible scanning strategies and design of a NEXRAD replacement system for high-resolution weather radar data.

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