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Simultaneous Observations and Analysis of Severe Storms Using Polarimetric X-Band SAR and Ground-Based Weather Radar

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2 Author(s)
Fritz, J.P. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO, USA ; Chandrasekar, V.

Recent advances in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology have revived meteorological applications with this type of radar. SARs are designed for surface imaging, but now that several X-band multipolarization SAR satellites are in orbit, the attenuation and backscatter caused by precipitation can be better studied. The results presented here demonstrate some of the possibilities by analyzing observations from dual-polarization (HH, VV) TerraSAR-X (TSX) acquisitions over central Florida surrounding severe storms in August 2008. Simultaneous to the SAR acquisitions, WSR-88D ground weather radars in Melbourne and Tampa Bay, FL, collected reflectivity and radial velocity data; the observed strong precipitation cells from convective storms are colocated with severe attenuation in the corresponding SAR images. The observations from SAR measurements are explained quantitatively by converting ground radar reflectivity into spaceborne radar attenuation via a theoretical model. In addition, polarization analysis comparing the SAR image to two additional TSX acquisitions 11 days apart and without rain provides an indication of storm-induced propagation effects on X-band SAR. Specifically, the copolar ratio Z_dr and the copolar correlation differences exhibit behavior that is better explained by the precipitation impact versus surface changes. Multiple regions with varying ground cover, including urban, and storm characteristics are analyzed to highlight the complexity of meteorological research using SAR while revealing a potential use of the technology to investigate the storm structure.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 10 )

Date of Publication:

Oct. 2010

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