Dual-Polarized Radar Coverage in Terminal Airspaces and Its Effect on Interpretation of Winter Weather Signatures: Current Capabilities and Future Recommendations
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Dual-Polarized Radar Coverage in Terminal Airspaces and Its Effect on Interpretation of Winter Weather Signatures: Current Capabilities and Future Recommendations
  • Published Date:

    2019

  • Source:
    J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol. (2019) 58 (1): 165–183.
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  • Description:
    This is a feasibility study on the use of dual-polarized radars to infer icing in terminal airspaces (TASs) of commercial airports. The amount and quality of radar coverage in each TAS is quantified as a function of its location, traffic, and vulnerability to icing. No airport has 100% of the TAS covered, but most high-traffic or high-icing airports have comparatively good coverage (between 70% and 90%). A common occurrence during icing is anomalous propagation as 79% of events had an inversion within the TAS. This leads to overestimates in the elevations of icing layers and can cause significant ground-clutter contamination, which can overwhelm the echo produced by precipitation. The effects of beam broadening were also considered. Typical dendrite growth and melting layers can only be resolved in part of the TAS part of the time, or not at all, as these layers are often shallower than the radar beam. Because most airports have coverage from multiple radars, use of a three-dimensional mosaic was investigated. This allows for an increase in the TAS coverage (generally between 5% and 15%) and partly mitigates some of the resolution issues, but the maxima within individual layers are somewhat reduced in the interpolation process. A series of recommendations is made to address the concerns raised by this investigation. These include using only icing tops (not bottoms) to identify areas of icing, use of data mining to retrieve precipitation echo in the presence of ground clutter, and including the beamwidth in radar mosaics.
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