Airborne Doppler Radar Observations of a Convective Storm

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  • 1 National Severe Storms Laboratory/NOAA, Norman, OK 73069
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Abstract

Airborne Doppler radar can collect data on target storms that are quite widely dispersed. However, the relatively long time required to sample an individual storm in detail, particularly with a single aircraft, and the amplification of the statistical uncertainty in the radial velocity estimates when Cartesian wind components are derived, suggests that errors in wind fields derived from airborne Doppler radar measurements would exceed those from a ground based radar network which was better located to observe the same storm. Error distributions for two analysis methods (termed Overdetermined and Direct methods) are given and discussed for various flight configurations. Both methods are applied to data collected on a sea breeze induced storm that occurred in western Florida on 28 July 1982. Application of the direct solution, which does not use the continuity equation, and the overdetermined dual-Doppler method, which requires the use of the continuity equation, resulted in similar fields. Since the magnitude of all errors are unknown and the response of each method to errors is different, it is difficult to assess overall which analysis performs better; indeed each might be expected to perform best in different parts of the analysis domain. A flexible collection strategy can be followed with different analysis methods to optimize the quality of resulting synthesized wind fields.

Abstract

Airborne Doppler radar can collect data on target storms that are quite widely dispersed. However, the relatively long time required to sample an individual storm in detail, particularly with a single aircraft, and the amplification of the statistical uncertainty in the radial velocity estimates when Cartesian wind components are derived, suggests that errors in wind fields derived from airborne Doppler radar measurements would exceed those from a ground based radar network which was better located to observe the same storm. Error distributions for two analysis methods (termed Overdetermined and Direct methods) are given and discussed for various flight configurations. Both methods are applied to data collected on a sea breeze induced storm that occurred in western Florida on 28 July 1982. Application of the direct solution, which does not use the continuity equation, and the overdetermined dual-Doppler method, which requires the use of the continuity equation, resulted in similar fields. Since the magnitude of all errors are unknown and the response of each method to errors is different, it is difficult to assess overall which analysis performs better; indeed each might be expected to perform best in different parts of the analysis domain. A flexible collection strategy can be followed with different analysis methods to optimize the quality of resulting synthesized wind fields.

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