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Coverage comparison of short range radar networks vs. conventional weather radars: Case study in the northwestern United States

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8 Author(s)
Salazar, J.L. ; Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA ; Hopf, A. ; Contreras, R.F. ; Philips, B.
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The West Coast of Washington and the NE and SW comers of Wyoming are regions of the contiguous United States where NEXRAD coverage is incomplete. One approach to addressing these gaps is to install additional NEXRAD-class radars. Another potential approach is to install small radar networks of the type being investigated in the CASA project. This paper compares these two approaches. We provide a meteorological and user-need assessment of present radar coverage in these regions (based on a recent feasibility study led by J. Brotzge) as well as an objective assessment of the radar-coverage that would be achieved using the large radar and small radar approaches. For this evaluation we consider two classes of radar: long-range radars having similar attributes to the WSR-88D (i.e., 10 cm wavelength, >250 km maximum range, 1 degree beamwidth, -500 kW peak power); and short-range radars having attributes similar to those operating in CASA's Oklahoma prototype network (i.e., 3 cm wavelength, 40 km maximum range, 2 degree beamwidth). We first establish the number of both types of radar that would be needed to provide coverage over a given rectangular ground-domain. Next, we quantify the coverage-versus-altitude for both weather-event detection and precipitation estimation over these regions, considering the blockage caused by both the curved earth and the local terrain.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium,2009 IEEE International,IGARSS 2009  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

12-17 July 2009