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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Apr 2020

28 Apr 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Probabilistic analysis of ambiguities in radar echo direction of arrival from meteors

Daniel Kastinen1,2 and Johan Kero1 Daniel Kastinen and Johan Kero
  • 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Box 812, SE-98128 Kiruna, Sweden
  • 2Umeå University, Department of Physics, SE-90187 Umeå, Sweden

Abstract. Meteors and hard targets produce coherent radar echoes. If measured with an interferometric radar system, these echoes can be used to determine the position of the target through finding the Direction Of Arrival (DOA) of the incoming echo onto the radar. If the DOA of meteor trail plasma drifting with the ambient atmosphere is determined, the neutral wind at the observation altitude can be calculated. Specular meteor trail radars have become widespread scientific instruments to study atmospheric dynamics. Meteor head echo measurements also contribute to studies of the atmosphere as the meteoroid input of extraterrestrial material is relevant for a plethora of atmospheric phenomena. Depending on the spatial configuration of radar receiving antennas and their individual gain patterns, there may be an ambiguity problem when determining the DOA of an echo. Radars that are theoretically ambiguity free are known to still have ambiguities that depend on the total radar Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). In this study we investigate robust methods which are easy to implement to determine the effect of ambiguities on any hard target DOA determination by interferometric radar systems. We apply these methods specifically to simulate four different radar systems measuring meteor head and trail echoes using the multiple signal classification (MUSIC) DOA determination algorithm. The four radar systems are the middle and upper atmosphere (MU) radar in Japan, a generic Jones 2.5λ specular meteor trail radar configuration, the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) radar in Norway and the The Program of the Antarctic Syowa Mesosphere Stratosphere Troposphere Incoherent Scatter (PANSY) radar in the Antarctic. We also examined a slightly perturbed Jones 2.5λ configuration used as a meteor trail echo receiver for the PANSY radar. All the results are derived from simulations and their purpose is to grant understanding of the behaviour of DOA determination. General results are: there may be a region of SNRs where ambiguities are relevant; Monte Carlo simulation determines this region and if it exists; the MUSIC function peak value is directly correlated with the ambiguous region; a Bayesian method is presented that may be able to analyse echoes from this region; the DOA of echoes with SNRs larger then this region are perfectly determined; the DOA of echoes with SNRs smaller then this region completely fail to be determined; the location of this region is shifted based on the total SNR versus the channel SNR in the direction of the target; asymmetric subgroups can cause ambiguities even for ambiguity free radars. For a DOA located at the zenith, the end of the ambiguous region is located at 17 dB SNR for the MU radar and 3 dB SNR for the PANSY radar. The Jones radars are usually used to measure specular trail echoes far from zenith. The ambiguous region for a DOA at 75.5° elevation and 0° azimuth ends at 12 dB SNR. Using the Bayesian method it may be possible to analyse echoes down to 4 dB SNR for the Jones configuration, given enough data points from the same target. The PANSY meteor trail echo receiver did not deviate significantly from the generic Jones configuration. The MAARSY radar could not resolve arbitrary DOAs sufficiently well to determine a stable region. However, if the DOA search is restricted to 70° elevation or above by assumption, stable DOA determination occurs above 15 dB SNR.

Daniel Kastinen and Johan Kero

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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Daniel Kastinen and Johan Kero

Daniel Kastinen and Johan Kero


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Latest update: 20 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The behavior of position determination with interferometric radar systems and possible ambiguities therein depend on the spatial configuration of the radar receiving antennas and their individual characteristics. We have simulated the position determination performance of five different radar systems. These simulation showed that ambiguities are dynamic and need to be examined on a case by case basis. However, the simulations can be used to analyse and understand previously ambiguous data.
The behavior of position determination with interferometric radar systems and possible...