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  • Author or Editor: Anthony C. Didlake Jr x
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Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Gerald M. Heymsfield, Lin Tian, and Stephen R. Guimond


The coplane analysis technique for mapping the three-dimensional wind field of precipitating systems is applied to the NASA High-Altitude Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP). HIWRAP is a dual-frequency Doppler radar system with two downward-pointing and conically scanning beams. The coplane technique interpolates radar measurements onto a natural coordinate frame, directly solves for two wind components, and integrates the mass continuity equation to retrieve the unobserved third wind component. This technique is tested using a model simulation of a hurricane and compared with a global optimization retrieval. The coplane method produced lower errors for the cross-track and vertical wind components, while the global optimization method produced lower errors for the along-track wind component. Cross-track and vertical wind errors were dependent upon the accuracy of the estimated boundary condition winds near the surface and at nadir, which were derived by making certain assumptions about the vertical velocity field. The coplane technique was then applied successfully to HIWRAP observations of Hurricane Ingrid (2013). Unlike the global optimization method, the coplane analysis allows for a transparent connection between the radar observations and specific analysis results. With this ability, small-scale features can be analyzed more adequately and erroneous radar measurements can be identified more easily.

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Lin Tian, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Stephen Guimond, and Lihua Li


The velocity–azimuth display (VAD) analysis technique established for ground-based scanning radar is applied to the NASA High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP). The VAD technique provides a mean vertical profile of the horizontal winds for each complete conical scan of the HIWRAP radar. One advantage of this technique is that it has shown great value for data assimilation and for operational forecasts. Another advantage is that it is computationally inexpensive, which makes it suitable for real-time retrievals. The VAD analysis has been applied to the HIWRAP data collected during NASA’s Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) mission. The traditional dual-Doppler analysis for deriving wind fields in the nadir plane is also presented and is compared with the VAD analysis. The results show that the along-track winds from the VAD technique and dual-Doppler analysis agree in general. The VAD horizontal winds capture the mean vortex structure of two tropical cyclones, and they are in general agreement with winds from nearby dropsondes. Several assumptions are made for the VAD technique. These assumptions include a stationary platform for each HIWRAP scan and constant vertical velocity of the hydrometeors along each complete scan. As a result, the VAD technique can produce appreciable errors in regions of deep convection such as the eyewall, whereas in stratiform regions the retrieval errors are minimal. Despite these errors, the VAD technique can still adequately capture the larger-scale structure of the hurricane vortex given a sufficient number of flight passes over the storm.

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