Real time refractivity from clutter using a best fit approach improved with physical information



[1] Refractivity from clutter (RFC) retrieves the radio frequency refractive conditions along a propagation path by inverting the measured radar sea clutter return. In this paper, a real-time RFC technique is proposed called “Improved Best Fit” (IBF). It is based on finding the environment with best fit to one of many precomputed, modeled radar returns for different environments in a database. The method is improved by considering the mean slope of the propagation factor, and physical considerations are added: smooth variations of refractive conditions with azimuth and smooth variations of duct height with range. The approach is tested on data from 1998 Wallops Island, Virginia, measurement campaign with good results on most of the data, and questionable results are detected with a confidence criterion. A comparison between the refractivity structures measured during the measurement campaign and the ones retrieved by inversion shows a good match. Radar coverage simulations obtained from these inverted refractivity structures demonstrate the potential utility of IBF.