A new frequency-modulated continuous wave radar for studying planetary boundary layer morphology


  • Frank D. Eaton,

  • Scott A. McLaughlin,

  • John R. Hines


This paper describes a new generation frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar using state-of-the-art electronics and computerized data processing that greatly enhance the use of the radar as a practical tool for atmospheric research. The system senses at high resolution (∼2-m range and 12 s for obtaining each profile), has ultrasensitivity (< −165 dBm), and is accurately calibrated for the refractive index structure parameter (C2n). The authors present salient features, discuss the calibration procedure, and present and discuss examples of various types of fine detail wave and frontal activity, boundary layer convection, and a light winter storm sensed by the radar over the last 2 years. The authors also show associated data from radiosonde and tower-mounted sensors that are relevant to the episodal events shown from the FMCW radar observations. Since the FMCW radar technique can resolve and sense individual insects, these point targets are shown to act as tracers and enhance flow visualization.