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Comparison of atmospheric refractivity estimation methods and their influence on radar wave propagation predictions


Pastore, Douglas et al. (2021), Comparison of atmospheric refractivity estimation methods and their influence on radar wave propagation predictions, Dryad, Dataset,


Environmental predictions in the marine atmospheric surface layer (MASL) are imperative to optimize X-band radar system performance in marine environments.  Evaporation ducts (ED) lead to anomalous propagation where characterization of EDs in the MASL occurs primarily through two methods: in-situ measurements and numerical modeling. This study investigates differences in co-located and synchronous refractivity estimations from the CASPER-East campaign. Propagation predictions are generated for refractive profiles from in-situ measurements, Monin-Obukov boundary layer similarity theory, and numerical weather prediction forecasts. Variations in evaporation duct height (EDH) are found to be a primary driver of differences in propagation between the estimated refractivity profiles, where location of the EDH relative to the transmitter changes the sensitivity of propagation predictions to EDH estimates. Differences in propagation are large when EDH estimates span the transmitter height and the lowest EDH across the methods is small, regardless of how much variation there is in EDH estimates. When the lowest EDH is small and EDH estimates span the transmitter height there are differences in physical regimes causing large propagation discrepancies – e.g., leakage into versus trapping within the duct. Variation in EDH between the methods is greatest in stable environments. M-deficit and curvature of the refractive profiles also influence propagation specifically in scenarios when EDH spans the transmitter. When all EDHs are below the transmitter, EDH variance is the primary contributor to propagation variance, but M-deficit and profile curvature variance play a secondary role. M-deficits and curvature between the methods agree most often during periods of atmospheric stability.


Office of Naval Research, Award: N00014‐16‐1‐2075, N00014‐19‐1‐2350