Operational Measurement of Hurricane Surface Waves
Ivan PopStefanija ProSensing Inc. Amherst, MA 01002 Phone: (413) 549-4402 x 15 Email: popstefanija@prosensing.
Peter Black AOML Hurricane Research Division NOAA
Funded through the NOAA Small Business Innovative Research program, ProSensing has designed a Scanning Radar Altimeter (SRA) intended for airborne measurement of surface wave height, direction, and wavelength from directional ocean wave spectra. A compact solid-state radar processor was designed to replace the aging prototype SRA currently operated by NOAA. The new design includes a flat plate, electronically-scanning antenna (no moving parts). The new design allows the radar to achieve the same beamwidth as the prototype Ku band SRA while operating at a less attenuating Ka band frequency. This new operational SRA can therefore operate through rain at established reconnaissance altitudes of 700 mb and lower.
The radar’s processor unit is currently being tested at ProSensing, Inc. in Amherst, MA. A digital microstrip antenna is being developed, with support from the University of Massachusetts Center for Advanced Sensor and Communications Antennas (CASCA). In preparation for deployment on the NOAA WP-3D, we have completed a preliminary installation design on the aircraft. The instrument package for the SRA will be installed by NOAA/AOC in an unpressurized dome beneath the WP-3D fuselage. We plan to deploy the system for engineering flights during the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, with a fully operational system ready for deployment in 2008.