Recent advances in millimeter-wave radar component technology have led to the development of a new generation of radars above 30 GHz. These radars are more reliable and versatile than their predecessors, consequently gaining popularity among the remote sensing community, particularly among atmospheric scientists. Since 1990, at least 30 millimeter wave cloud radars have been built worldwide for atmospheric science applications. Many of these radars operate near 35 GHz, where atmospheric attenuation due to water vapor and liquid water is considerably reduced as compared to attenuation near 95 GHz. Cloud radars operating at 35 GHz generally employ comparatively energetic transmitters (10-100 W average power) and large antennas (1-3 meters diameter). 95 GHz cloud radars, which benefit from the increase in small droplet scattering efficiency, typically operate with less average power (0.1 to 15 W) and smaller antennas (0.3 to 2 m diameter).

Radar Technology

Spaceborne radar concepts

Our group is involved in the European Space Agency Earth Clouds Aerosols Radiation Experiment (EARTHCARE) Explorer Mission, a joint Japanese and European first spaceborne Doppler radar for the study of clouds and precipitation. In addition, our group has been involved in collaboration with Environment Canada and the Canadian Space Agency to a short study for a Canadian-lead satellite mission to monitor the hydrological cycle in northern latitudes (SnowSat) and to a full proposal to the European Space Agency for a Polar Precipitation Mission (PPM) as a response to the 8th call for Earth Explorers. Currently, we are working with EU and US partners on the development of future spaceborne radar concepts.