Polarimetric observations of chaff using the WSR-88D network
May 1, 2018
Chaff is a radar countermeasure typically used by military branches in training exercises around the United States. Chaff within view of the S-band WSR-88D radars can appear prominently on radar users displays. Knowledge of chaff characteristics is useful for radar users to discriminate between chaff and weather echoes and for automated algorithms to do the same. The WSR-88D network provides dual-polarimetric capabilities across the United States, leading to the collection of a large database of chaff cases. The database is analyzed to determine the characteristics of chaff in terms of the reflectivity factor and polarimetric variables on large scales. Particular focus is given to the dynamics of differential reflectivity (ZDR) in chaff and its dependence on height. Contrary to radar data observations of chaff for a single event, this study is able to reveal a repeatable and new pattern of radar chaff observations. A discussion regarding the observed characteristics is presented, and hypotheses for the observed ZDR dynamics are put forth.