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Book Sections Year : 2021

Airborne Radar

Martin Hagen
Julien Delanoë
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  • PersonId : 914246
Florian Ewald
Andrew Pazmany


Ground-based radar systems have been used to observe clouds and precipitation since the 1940s. While weather radars that use centimeter waves can observe precipitation several hundred kilometers away, radars that are dedicated to cloud observations use millimeter waves and have limited ranges of just a few tens of kilometers. Airborne radars have the advantages that they can perform measurements close to the region of interest and they provide radar information on regions that ground-based radars cannot access. There is no such thing as a standard airborne radar system; all systems are tailored for use on specific research aircraft, although some of them are designed to be modular so that they can be mounted on various aircraft. Airborne radar systems use frequencies ranging from those in the X band to those in the W band. Radars that use shorter wavelengths are preferred due to spatial restrictions on antenna size in aircraft, but C-band systems are also being considered for installation in large aircraft. Besides reflectivity (the backscatter signal), the radial motions of scattering particles can be measured and used to retrieve atmospheric motion. In addition, several airborne radars are able to measure dual-polarization backscatter signals that can be employed to identify different types of hydrometeors.

Dates and versions

insu-03431139 , version 1 (16-11-2021)



Martin Hagen, Julien Delanoë, Scott Ellis, Florian Ewald, Jeffrey French, et al.. Airborne Radar. Thomas Foken (ed.). Springer Handbook of Atmospheric Measurements, Springer International Publishing, pp.1099-1133, 2021, Springer Handbooks, 978-3-030-52171-4. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-52171-4_39⟩. ⟨insu-03431139⟩
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