34th Conference on Radar Meteorology


The New Weather Radar for America's Space Program in Florida: A Temperature Profile Adaptive Scan Strategy

Lawrence D. Carey, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and W. P. Roeder, K. M. McGrath, W. A. Petersen, and W. Deierling

A new weather radar is being acquired for use in support of America's space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and Patrick AFB on the east coast of central Florida. This new radar replaces the modified WSR-74C at Patrick AFB that has been in use since 1984. The new radar is a Radtec TDR 43-250, which has Doppler and dual polarization capability. A new fixed scan strategy was designed to best support the space program. The fixed scan strategy represents a complex compromise between many competing factors and relies on climatological heights of various temperatures that are important for improved lightning forecasting and evaluation of Lightning Launch Commit Criteria (LCC), which are the weather rules to avoid lightning strikes to in-flight rockets. The 0C to -20C layer is vital since most generation of electric charge occurs within it and so it is critical in evaluating Lightning LCC and in forecasting lightning. These are two of the most important duties of 45 WS. While the fixed scan strategy that covers most of the climatological variation of the 0C to -20C levels with high resolution ensures that these critical temperatures are well covered most of the time, it also means that on any particular day the radar is spending precious time scanning at angles covering less important heights.

The goal of this project is to develop a user-friendly, Interactive Data Language (IDL) computer program that will automatically generate optimized radar scan strategies that adapt to user input of the temperature profile and other important parameters. By using only the required scan angles output by the temperature profile adaptive scan strategy program, faster update times for volume scans and/or collection of more samples per gate for better data quality is possible, while maintaining high resolution at the critical temperature levels. The temperature profile adaptive technique will also take into account earth curvature and refraction when geo-locating the radar beam (i.e., beam height and arc distance), including non-standard refraction based on the user-input temperature profile. In addition to temperature profile adaptivity, this paper will also summarize the other requirements for this scan strategy program such as detection of low-level boundaries, detection of anvil clouds, reducing the Cone Of Silence, and allowing for times when deep convective clouds will not occur. The adaptive technique will be carefully compared to and benchmarked against the new fixed scan strategy. Specific environmental scenarios in which the adaptive scan strategy is able to optimize and improve coverage and resolution at critical heights, scan time, and/or sample numbers relative to the fixed scan strategy will be presented.

Two other related abstracts on this new radar are being submitted to this conference, one over-viewing the new radar and another detailing the fixed scan strategy customized to best support the space program mission.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (380K)

Poster Session 1, Nowcasting
Monday, 5 October 2009, 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, President's Ballroom

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