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

Valentin Louf, Olivier Pujol, Jérôme Riedi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review


The choice of the microwave frequency is of considerable importance for precipitating system observations by airborne radar. Currently, these radars operate at X-band (f = 10 GHz), although other frequency bands, may be used jointly or not. Since the measured reflectivity Zm is f-depending, different physical information about precipitating systems could be obtained. Herein, a comparison of reflectivity fields at different frequency bands is presented. A realistic and flexible model of precipitating systems is presented and simulations of airborne radar observations are performed. Simulated reflectivity fields are degraded as/increases because of Mie effects and microwave attenuation. At S, C and X-bands, attenuation is weak and Mie effects slightly increase the backscattered signal such that they can compensate attenuation at X and Ku bands. The Ka and W-bands suffer from a strong attenuation and significant Mie effects which seriously alter Zm-fields. For a squall line, the closer convective tower hides the farther ones, which is problematic for a pilot to estimate hazard at long distance. In addition, because hail is the main meteorological hazard for civil aviation, hail-rain discrimination is discussed and clarified for convective systems. It appears that S, C, and X-bands are the best ones, but the significant size of antenna used is prohibitive. Higher frequencies are more difficult to use on civil aviation due to high ambiguities and a too strongly attenuated microwave signal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRadiation Processes in the Atmosphere and Ocean, IRS 2012 - Proceedings of the International Radiation Symposium (IRC/IAMAS)
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780735411555
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Radiation Symposium on Radiation Processes in the Atmosphere and Ocean (IRS) 2012 - The Dahlem Cube, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 6 Aug 201210 Aug 2012


ConferenceInternational Radiation Symposium on Radiation Processes in the Atmosphere and Ocean (IRS) 2012
Abbreviated titleIRS 2012
Internet address


  • Airborne
  • Frequency comparison
  • Precipitating systems
  • Radar
  • Simulation

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