Development of a new inanimate class for the WSR-88D hydrometeor classification algorithm
August 31, 2017
The current implementation of the Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm (HCA) on the WSR-88D network contains two non-hydrometeor-based classes: ground clutter/anomalous propagation and biologicals. A number of commonly observed non-hydrometeor-based phenomena do not fall into either of these two HCA categories, but often are misclassified as ground clutter, biologicals, unknown, or worse yet, weather hydrometeors. Some of these phenomena include chaff, sea clutter, combustion debris and smoke, and radio frequency interference. In order to address this discrepancy, a new class (nominally named "inanimate") is being developed that encompasses many of these targets. Using this class, a distinction between non-biological and biological non-hydrometeor targets can be made and potentially separated into sub-classes for more direct identification. A discussion regarding the fuzzy logic membership functions, optimization of membership weights, and class restrictions is presented, with a focus on observations of highly stochastic differential phase estimates in all of the aforementioned targets. Recent attempts to separate the results into sub-classes using a support vector machine are presented, and examples of each target type are detailed. Details concerning eventual implementation into the WSR-88D radar product generator are addressed.