Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wind profiling with Radars - ARRC

Had the inaugural lecture for the ARRC - Adelaide Radar Research Centre. It is trying to create collaboration between the Physics department and the Electronics Engineering department to make - well more radars of all sorts. The physics department at Adelaide has had several RF greats including the famous Braggs. Prof Iain Reid the Executive Director of ATRAD showed off the long history of wind profiling arrays at Buckland Park and other sites. They seem to have a huge number of installations at Chinese launch sites to control manned launches of the Long March.

Here are some interesting tid bits:

1) Full atmosphere coupled models work better for weather system modelling than lower atmosphere only models.
2) Atmosphere has Inertial,Bouyant and Viscous layers which influence its observability by VHF radar.
3) The region not observable by radar can be observed using lidar at multiple frequencies, there is a sodium band at the upper atmosphere which can be used for measurements. UV Lasers will have best response for most of the atmosphere.
4) Networked radars are the big new thing thanks to the popularity of the BOM site ( following on from the last post) and is driving the development of more wind profilers so that the atmospheric radars can be dedicated to precipitation observation.
5) Big radars are hard to build due to power constraints in remote areas like the outback and Antarctica, so they are being forced to become more economical. Pansy built by Japanese Universities in the Antarctica may include solar power or something similar, or a forest of Bonsai trees with electrical generation units and antennas plugged into them.

On that happy note we finished the talk on watching winds with electromagnetic waves.

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