BASTA: A 95-GHz FMCW Doppler radar for cloud and fog studies

Abstract : Doppler cloud radars are amazing tools to characterize cloud and fog properties and to improve their representation in models. However commercially-available cloud radars (35 and 95 GHz) are still very expensive, which hinders their widespread deployment. In this study we present the development of a lower-cost semi-operational 95 GHz Doppler cloud radar called BASTA for Bistatic rAdar SysTem for Atmospheric studies. In order to drastically reduce the cost of the instrument a different approach is used compared to traditional pulsed radars: instead of transmitting a large amount of energy for a very short time period (as a pulse), a lower amount of energy is transmitted continuously. In the paper we show that using specific signal processing technique the radar can challenge expensive radars and provide high-quality measurements of cloud and fog. The latest version of the instrument has a sensitivity of about -50 dBZ at 1 km for 3 s integration and a vertical resolution of 25 m. BASTA radar currently uses four successive modes for specific applications: the 12.5 m vertical resolution mode is dedicated to fog and low clouds, the 25 m mode is for liquid and ice mid-tropospheric clouds and the 100 m and 200 m are ideal for optically-thin high-level ice clouds. We also highlight the advantage of such a radar for calibration procedures and field operations. The radar comes with a set of products dedicated to cloud and fog studies. For instance, cloud mask, corrected Doppler velocity and multi mode products combining high sensitivity mode and high resolution modes are provided.
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Julien Delanoë, Alain Protat, Jean-Paul Vinson, Williams Brett, Christophe Caudoux, et al.. BASTA: A 95-GHz FMCW Doppler radar for cloud and fog studies. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, American Meteorological Society, 2016, 33 (5), pp.1023-1038. ⟨10.1175/JTECH-D-15-0104.1⟩. ⟨insu-01278272⟩

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