Sensitivity of operational weather radars
This paper explores methods of estimating radar system sensitivity and presents examples of WSR-88D performance. It also provides a discussion on system design tradeoffs related to sensitivity. The paper documents recent performance estimates and observations of radar system sensitivity resulting from the polarization technology upgrade, currently underway for the WSR-88D. The test team at the Radar Operations Center has access to data from two WSR-88D systems, spaced in close proximity, and operating at opposite ends of the allocated frequency band. This affords a unique capability to explore sensitivity and calibration performance aspects influenced by wavelength differences. The team used observational data to support theoretical analysis and the paper documents this process in detail.