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Gust Front Characteristics as Detected by Doppler Radar

Diana L. KlingleDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907

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David R. SmithDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907

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Marilyn M. WolfsonMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02173

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Abstract

Gust fronts produce low altitude wind shear that can be hazardous to aircraft operations, especially during takeoff and landing. Radar meteorologists have long been able to identify gust front signatures in Doppler radar data, but in order to use the radar efficiently, automatic detection of such hazards is essential.

In a study designed to accumulate statistics on the gust frontal signature in Doppler radar data, nine gust front cases were analyzed. Data were collected on those characteristics thought to be most important in developing rules for automatic gust-front detection such as gust front length and height, maximum and minimum values of reflectivity, velocity and spectrum width, and estimates of radial shear. To provide the reader with a concrete example, photographs of the Doppler radar displays of just two (in the interests of brevity) of the nine gust fronts are presented and discussed, as well as summary data for all cases. For these cases, outflows could be detected most reliably in the velocity field. Line features in the spectrum width and reflectivity fields associated with some of the gust fronts could also be identified, although somewhat less reliably than in the Doppler velocity.

Abstract

Gust fronts produce low altitude wind shear that can be hazardous to aircraft operations, especially during takeoff and landing. Radar meteorologists have long been able to identify gust front signatures in Doppler radar data, but in order to use the radar efficiently, automatic detection of such hazards is essential.

In a study designed to accumulate statistics on the gust frontal signature in Doppler radar data, nine gust front cases were analyzed. Data were collected on those characteristics thought to be most important in developing rules for automatic gust-front detection such as gust front length and height, maximum and minimum values of reflectivity, velocity and spectrum width, and estimates of radial shear. To provide the reader with a concrete example, photographs of the Doppler radar displays of just two (in the interests of brevity) of the nine gust fronts are presented and discussed, as well as summary data for all cases. For these cases, outflows could be detected most reliably in the velocity field. Line features in the spectrum width and reflectivity fields associated with some of the gust fronts could also be identified, although somewhat less reliably than in the Doppler velocity.

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