Velocity estimation improvements for the ASR-9 Weather Systems Processor
February 2, 2014
The Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9) is a rapid-scanning terminal aircraft detection system deployed at airports around the United States. To provide cost-effective wind shear detection capability at medium-density airports, the Weather Systems Processor (WSP) was developed and added on to the ASR-9 at 35 sites. The WSP on the ASR-9 is capable of utilizing dual fan-beam estimates of reflectivity and velocity in order to detect low-level features such as gust fronts, wind shear, and microbursts, which would normally be best detectable by a low-scanning pencil beam radar. An upgrade to the ASR-9 WSP, which is currently ongoing, allows for additional computational complexity in the front-end digital signal processing algorithms compared to previous iterations of the system. This paper will explore ideas for improving velocity estimates, including low-level dual beam weight estimation, de-aliasing, and noise reduction. A discussion of the unique challenges afforded by the ASR-9's block-stagger pulse repetition time is presented, along with thoughts on how to overcome limitations which arise from rapid-scanning and the inherent lack of pulses available for coherent averaging.