Hardware development is not an usual occurrence at the J.S. Marshall Radar Observatory. Of course, there is the continuous maintenance and upgrade of the wide range of existing instruments (some are more demanding than others). Occasionally, other groups ask us to build vertically pointing X-band radars for them. Now, you would think this would keep the engineers busy; well it does… But on top of that, there is some hardware development for special research instruments. Scientists always need new toys to play with…
There are two such development currently going on at the observatory. The first is a vertically pointing W-band radar. This will be the highest frequency radar operating at our facilities. This radar will be emitting at 94 GHz and will be a pulsed Doppler radar with a 90 cm Cassegrain antenna. The data products that will be available are reflectivity, Doppler moments and spectra, and the raw I and Q values. The vertical resolution of the data will be of 30 m vertically and a 1 s
integration time will be used. This instrument will be used to study clouds and precipitation. This radar iscapable of measuring very small sized hydrometeors in the atmosphere. The other radars at the facility have difficulty doing this measurement. Combined to other instruments, such as the vertically pointing X-band radar, additional information on the size of the hydrometeors.
The second is a scanning microwave radiometer. This is the first passive instrument developed at the observatory. This instrument will be measuring atmospheric emission at several frequencies in the K-band (18 - 26.5 GHz) using a 98 cm offset-fed antenna. This instrument will be used to derive 2D maps of water vapor and integrated liquid water content. The focus will be given to the atmospheric boundary layer. It will also be capable in deriving profiles of water vapor in the atmosphere. This instrument is going to complement the radars suite by providing temperature, humidity, and liquid water amount measurements that radars cannot make.