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Mark Weadon, Pamela Heinselman, Douglas Forsyth, James Kimpel, William E. Benner, and Garth S. Torok

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Tian-You Yu, Marko B. Orescanin, Christopher D. Curtis, Dusan S. Zrnić, and Douglas E. Forsyth

Abstract

The recently installed S-band phased-array radar (PAR) at the National Weather Radar Testbed (NWRT) offers fast and flexible beam steering through electronic beam forming. This capability allows the implementation of a novel scanning strategy termed beam multiplexing (BMX), with the goal of providing fast updates of weather information with high statistical accuracy. For conventional weather radar the data acquisition time for a sector scan or a volume coverage pattern (VCP) can be reduced by increasing the antenna’s rotation rate to the extent that the pedestal allows. However, statistical errors of the spectral moment estimates will increase due to the fewer samples that are available for the estimation. BMX is developed to exploit the idea of collecting independent samples and maximizing the usage of radar resources. An improvement factor is introduced to quantify the BMX performance, which is defined by the reduction in data acquisition time using BMX when the same data accuracy obtained by a conventional scanning strategy is maintained. It is shown theoretically that a fast update without compromising data quality can be achieved using BMX at small spectrum widths and a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Applications of BMX to weather observations are demonstrated using the PAR, and the results indicate that an average improvement factor of 2–4 can be obtained for SNR higher than 10 dB.

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