Determination of Winds from Balloon Tracking with a Doppler Weather Radar

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  • 1 National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

Computer programs for antenna control and data processing were prepared and interfacing was fabricated to enable the Doppler radar at Norman, Oklahoma, to track a reflectorized balloon, and define winds in the layer through which the balloon rises. Differences between wind speeds and directions estimated by this radar and by radiosonde were about ½ m s−1 and 4°. Given a network of Doppler radars such as projected by the NEXRAD program, the incremental cost of hardware for measuring winds by this radar method is small. Subject to refinement of balloon launch and acquisition procedures, and consideration of other possible consraints, the method represents an opportunity to collect wind data by radar during periods of fair weather when natural tracers are weak or absent and the radars are not otherwise dedicated. Winds so acquired could expand the base of data used in weather forecasting.

Abstract

Computer programs for antenna control and data processing were prepared and interfacing was fabricated to enable the Doppler radar at Norman, Oklahoma, to track a reflectorized balloon, and define winds in the layer through which the balloon rises. Differences between wind speeds and directions estimated by this radar and by radiosonde were about ½ m s−1 and 4°. Given a network of Doppler radars such as projected by the NEXRAD program, the incremental cost of hardware for measuring winds by this radar method is small. Subject to refinement of balloon launch and acquisition procedures, and consideration of other possible consraints, the method represents an opportunity to collect wind data by radar during periods of fair weather when natural tracers are weak or absent and the radars are not otherwise dedicated. Winds so acquired could expand the base of data used in weather forecasting.

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