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Multichannel Receiver Design, Instrumentation, and First Results at the National Weather Radar Testbed

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11 Author(s)
Mark Yeary ; School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA ; Gerald Crain ; Allen Zahrai ; Christopher D. Curtis
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When the National Weather Radar Testbed (NWRT) was installed in 2004, a single-channel digital receiver was implemented so that the radar could mimic typical Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR) version 1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) capability. This, however, left unused eight other channels, built into the antenna. This paper describes the hardware instrumentation of a recently completed project that digitizes the radar signals produced by these channels. The NWRT is the nation's first phased array devoted to weather observations, and this testbed serves as an evaluation platform to test new hardware and signal processing concepts. The multichannel digital data will foster a new generation of adaptive/fast scanning techniques and space-antenna/interferometry measurements, which will then be used for improved weather forecasting via data assimilation. The multichannel receiver collects signals from the sum, azimuth-difference, elevation-difference, and five broad-beamed auxiliary channels. One of the major advantages of the NWRT is the capability to adaptively scan weather phenomena at a higher temporal resolution than is possible with the WSR-88D. Access to the auxiliary channels will enable clutter mitigation and advanced array processing for higher data quality with shorter dwell times. Potential benefits of higher quality and higher resolution data include: better understanding of storm dynamics and convective initiation; better detection of small-scale phenomena, including tornadoes and microbursts; and crossbeam wind, shear, and turbulence estimates. These items have the distinct possibility to ultimately render increased lead time for warnings and improved weather prediction. Finally, samples of recently collected data are presented in the results section of this paper.

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IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  (Volume:61 ,  Issue: 7 )