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Advanced multi-frequency radar: Design, preliminary measurements and particle size distribution retrieval

Ninoslav Majurec, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In the spring of 2001 the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL) at the University of Massachusetts began the development of an advanced Multi-Frequency Radar (AMFR) system for studying clouds and precipitation. This mobile radar was designed to consist of three polarimetric Doppler subsystems operating at Ku-band (13.4 GHz), Ka-band (35.6 GHz) and W-band (94.92 GHz). This combination of frequency bands allows a measurement of a wide range of atmospheric targets ranging from weakly reflecting clouds to strong precipitation. The antenna beamwidths at each frequency were intentionally matched, ensuring consistent sampling volume.^ Multi-frequency radar remote sensing techniques are not widely used because few multi-frequency radars are available to the science community. One exception is the 33 GHz/95 GHz UMass Cloud Profiling Radar System (CPRS), which AMFR is intended to replace. AMFR's multi-parameter capabilities are designed for characterizing the complex microphysics of layer clouds and precipitation processes in winter storms. AMFR will also play an important role in developing algorithms and validating measurements for an upcoming generation of space-borne radars. The frequency bands selected for AMFR match those of several sensors that have been deployed or are under development. These include the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agencies (JAXA's) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite Ku-band (13 GHz) radar, the CloudSat W-band (95 GHz) radar, and the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) satellite radars at Ku-band and Ka-band.^ This dissertation describes the AMFR hardware design and development. Compared to CPRS, the addition of one extra frequency band (Ku) will extend AMFR's measurement capabilities towards the larger particle sizes (precipitation). AMFR's design is based around high-power klystron amplifiers. This ensures complete coherency (CPRS uses magnetrons and coherent-on-receive technique). The partial loss in sensitivity due to lower output power of klystron amplifiers (comparing to magnetrons) is compensated by use of pulse compression (linear FM). The problem of range sidelobes (pulse compression artifacts) has been solved by using appropriate windowing functions in the receiver. Satisfactory sidelobe suppression level of 45 dB has been demonstrated in the lab. The currently best achievable range resolution of the AMFR system is 30 m (corresponds to 5 MHz receiver BW, set by the sampling rate of the Analog-to-Digital card). During the design stage, various polarization schemes have been investigated. The polarization scheme analysis showed the switching polarization scheme to be the best suited for the AMFR system.^ The AMFR subsystems were partially finished in the winter of 2005. Some preliminary tests were conducted in January 2006. Antenna platform was fabricated in summer 2006. The final assembly took place in the fall of 2006. Early results are presented in the dissertation. These results were helpful in revealing of certain problems in the radar system (i.e. immediate processing computer synchronization) that needed to be addressed during system development. ^ Stratiform rain event occurred on December 18 2006 has been analyzed in detail. A number of commonly used theoretical particle size distributions is presented. Furthermore, it is shown that a fully calibrated multi-frequency radar system has capability of separating scattering and attenuation effects. This was accomplished by fitting the theoretical models into the measured data. An alternative method of estimating rain rate that relies on the dual wavelength ratios is also presented. Although not as powerful as theoretical model fitting, it has its merits for off-zenith observations. ^ During January 2007, AMFR system participated in the C3VP experiment (Canadian CloudSat/CALIPSO Validation Project) in south Ontario, Canada. Some of the data obtained during C3VP experiment has been analyzed and presented. ^ Analysis of these two weather events resulted in the development of the initial multi-frequency particle size distribution retrieval algorithm.^

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Remote sensing

Recommended Citation

Majurec, Ninoslav, "Advanced multi-frequency radar: Design, preliminary measurements and particle size distribution retrieval" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3315523.