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Electronic scan weather radar: scan strategy and signal processing for volume targets




Nguyen, Cuong Manh, author
Chandra, Chandrasekar V., advisor
Jayasumana, Anura P., committee member
Mielke, Paul W., committee member
Notaros, Branislav, committee member

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Following the success of the WSR-88D network, considerable effort has been directed toward searching for options for the next generation of weather radar technology. With its superior capability for rapidly scanning the atmosphere, electronically scanned phased array radar (PAR) is a potential candidate. A network of such radars has been recommended for consideration by the National Academies Committee on Weather Radar Technology beyond NEXRAD. While conventional weather radar uses a rotating parabolic antenna to form and direct the beam, a phased array radar superimposes outputs from an array of many similar radiating elements to yield a beam that is scanned electronically. An adaptive scan strategy and advanced signal designs and processing concepts are developed in this work to use PAR effectively for weather observation. An adaptive scan strategy for weather targets is developed based on the space-time variability of the storm under observation. Quickly evolving regions are scanned more often and spatial sampling resolution is matched to spatial scale. A model that includes the interaction between space and time is used to extract spatial and temporal scales of the medium and to define scanning regions. The temporal scale constrains the radar revisit time while the measurement accuracy controls the dwell time. These conditions are employed in a task scheduler that works on a ray-by-ray basis and is designed to balance task priority and radar resources. The scheduler algorithm also includes an optimization procedure for minimizing radar scan time. In this research, a signal model for polarimetric phased array weather radar (PAWR) is presented and analyzed. The electronic scan mechanism creates a complex coupling of horizontal and vertical polarizations that produce the bias in the polarimetric variables retrieval. Methods for bias correction for simultaneous and alternating transmission modes are proposed. It is shown that the bias can be effectively removed; however, data quality degradation occurs at far off boresight directions. The effective range for the bias correction methods is suggested by using radar simulation. The pulsing scheme used in PAWR requires a new ground clutter filtering method. The filter is designed to work with a signal covariance matrix in the time domain. The matrix size is set to match the data block size. The filter's design helps overcome limitations of spectral filtering methods and make efficient use of reducing ground clutter width in PAWR. Therefore, it works on modes with few samples. Additionally, the filter can be directly extended for staggered PRT waveforms. Filter implementation for polarimetric retrieval is also successfully developed and tested for simultaneous and alternating staggered PRT. The performance of these methods is discussed in detail. It is important to achieve high sensitivity for PAWR. The use of low-power solid state transmitters to keep costs down requires pulse compression technique. Wide-band pulse compression filters will partly reduce the system sensitivity performance. A system for sensitivity enhancement (SES) for pulse compression weather radar is developed to mitigate this issue. SES uses a dual-waveform transmission scheme and an adaptive pulse compression filter that is based on the self-consistency between signals of the two waveforms. Using SES, the system sensitivity can be improved by 8 to 10 dB.


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polarimetric weather radar
remote sensing
radar signal processing
electronic scan strategy
phased array weather radar
radar pulse compression


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