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Matthew L. Walker McLinden, Lihua Li, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Michael Coon, and Amber Emory


The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC’s) W-band (94 GHz) Cloud Radar System (CRS) has been comprehensively updated to modern solid-state and digital technology. This W-band (94 GHz) radar flies in nadir-pointing mode on the NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft, providing polarimetric reflectivity and Doppler measurements of clouds and precipitation. This paper describes the design and signal processing of the upgraded CRS. It includes details on the hardware upgrades [solid-state power amplifier (SSPA) transmitter, antenna, and digital receiver] including a new reflectarray antenna and solid-state transmitter. It also includes algorithms, including internal loop-back calibration, external calibration using a direct relationship between volume reflectivity and the range-integrated backscatter of the ocean, and a modified staggered–pulse repetition frequency (PRF) Doppler algorithm that is highly resistant to unfolding errors. Data samples obtained by upgraded CRS through recent NASA airborne science missions are provided.

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