pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 130, Issue 2–3, pp 571–604 | Cite as

Interpretation, reliability and accuracies of parameters deduced by the spaced antenna method in middle atmosphere applications

  • W. K. Hocking
  • P. May
  • J. Röttger


The spaced antenna method has proved to be an important and relatively inexpensive radar technique for making measurements of atmospheric wind velocities and other parameters. This discussion examines the reliability and accuracies of various parameters which can be measured with the technique.

After a brief introduction, a series of comparisons of winds measured by the spaced antenna method and simultaneously by other techniques are presented. It is concluded that when using weak partial reflections in the height range 0–100km, the spaced antenna technique provides reliable estimates of the neutral air motion. Following this the assumptions made in applying the method are considered in more detail. The possibility of systematic errors and the likelihood of erroneous measurements are examined, and the accuracy of any particular measurement of wind speed is discussed. Previous objections to the technique are discussed, and in general shown to be invalid.

Other parameters apart from wind speeds can be measured with the spaced antenna technique, such as pattern scale, the rate of natural fading, and angles of arrival. The meanings of these parameters are discussed in terms of physical quantities such as turbulent energy dissipation rates, small-scale gravity wave velocity fluctuations, and aspect sensitivities of scatterers, and it is indicated when and how these derived parameters can be applied to deduce meaningful physical quantities. The need for great caution in making these interpretations is discussed; for example it is not always possible to use the rate of natural fading to estimate the intensity of turbulence, although in some cases this is possible. Finally, interferometric applications of spaced antenna systems are discussed.

Key words

Winds spaced antennas correlation analysis scatterers interferometry 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. K. Hocking
    • 1
  • P. May
    • 2
  • J. Röttger
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physics and Mathematical PhysicsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Radio Atmospheric Science CenterKyoto UniversityUji KyotoJapan
  3. 3.Max Planck Institut für AeronomieKaltenburg-LindauFederal Republic of Germany

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