Industrial doctorate student wins award for the best oral presentation at the 8th European Conference on Radar in Meteorology and Hydrology

Patrícia Altube, a doctorate student with the Remote Sensing and Sounding team of the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (SMC) Meteorological Observation Systems Unit (SOM), as part of the Industrial Doctorates Plan and in conjunction with the University of Barcelona (UB), won the award for the best oral presentation by a student at the 8th European Conference on Radar in Meteorology and Hydrology, ERAD 2014, held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, from 1 to 5 September 2014.

This is a two-yearly conference, held since 2000, that brings together researchers and meteorologists from government services, universities, research centres and private companies from around the world who work in different fields of radar in meteorology, from electronic and mechanical components to the most fully developed programming products at operational level.

The study presented the development and implementation of an operational application that works continuously, analysing the operation of the SMC and XRAD radar networks. It has become a highly valuable tool for the prevention and detection of drops in the quality of system data. Since the start of the year, this tool has been in operation in the SMC machines, facilitating network control and maintenance tasks.

The figure below gives an example of real detection of an antenna misalignment situation caused by the deterioration of a component in the Tivissa-Llaberia (LMI) radar in 2014.In this case, the rapid detection of the incident prevented the problems in the system from becoming more serious, including the antenna becoming unusable.

The method, based on the position of the sun, by which the location in the sky and emission frequency are established, functions on the basis of the radar’s sensing of its emissions. The application detects and characterises solar interference identified in the radar volumes. This technique is based on earlier developments by the Dutch and Finnish meteorological services (KNMI and FMI, respectively) and is currently in operation in other countries around Europe. In addition, recognition of the work presented by the SMC was possible thanks to the various improvements implemented, which have provided more, better-quality information on the operation of the radar system, both in terms of antenna direction and the strength of the radar emission, key elements in the data quality.

The following figure shows the detection of solar interference, marked with a red arrow, in the image from the Puig d’Arques (PDA) radar, on 16 June 2013 at 19:03 UTC, with an elevation of 1.3º (sunset).Solar interference is characterised by occupying an entire direction of the radar circumference continuously and the methodology is capable of identifying, characterising and separating it from other types of interference, such as microwave communications systems, e.g. WiMAX.


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