Simulation of airborne radar observations of precipitating systems at various frequency bands

Valentin Louf, Olivier Pujol, Henri Sauvageot, Jerome Riedi

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This paper addresses the question of the most efficient couple (f, θ3dB) for airborne radar precipitating system observations, where f is the microwave frequency and θ3dB is the beamwidth aperture at 3 dB. This problem is of importance. The meteorological hazard in civil aviation is mainly due to convective precipitating systems, particularly hail and strong turbulence areas. A realistic and flexible model of precipitating systems is presented, and simulations of airborne radar observations are performed at the six meteorological frequency bands (S, C, X, Ku, Ka, and W). In this paper, the effect of f and θ3dB modification is shown through radar simulations of two precipitating systems. One is a numerical simulation composed of two successive rows of convective towers; the other is inspired from a real mesoscale system, presenting hail-bearing convective towers. It is shown that some (f, θ3dB) couples are better than the one currently used by civil aviation. Notably, C band allows a better description than X band of a meteorological radar scene if the radar antenna size is increased. The model and methodology presented herein are adaptable to ground-based and satellite radars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6517923
Pages (from-to)1627-1634
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • θ-beamwidth
  • Airborne radar
  • meteorological hazard
  • precipitating systems
  • radar frequency comparison

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