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Concept: Radar


Interest in forecasting impacts of climate change have heightened attention in recent decades to how animals respond to variation in climate and weather patterns. One difficulty in determining animal response to climate variation is lack of long-term datasets that record animal behaviors over decadal scales. We used radar observations from the national NEXRAD network of Doppler weather radars to measure how group behavior in a colonially-roosting bat species responded to annual variation in climate and daily variation in weather over the past 11 years. Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) form dense aggregations in cave roosts in Texas. These bats emerge from caves daily to forage at high altitudes, which makes them detectable with Doppler weather radars. Timing of emergence in bats is often viewed as an adaptive trade-off between emerging early and risking predation or increased competition and emerging late which restricts foraging opportunities. We used timing of emergence from five maternity colonies of Brazilian free-tailed bats in south-central Texas during the peak lactation period (15 June-15 July) to determine whether emergence behavior was associated with summer drought conditions and daily temperatures. Bats emerged significantly earlier during years with extreme drought conditions than during moist years. Bats emerged later on days with high surface temperatures in both dry and moist years, but there was no relationship between surface temperatures and timing of emergence in summers with normal moisture levels. We conclude that emergence behavior is a flexible animal response to climate and weather conditions and may be a useful indicator for monitoring animal response to long-term shifts in climate.

Concepts: Meteorology, Emergence, Cave, Weather radar, Climate change, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Radar, Weather


Track-while-scan bird radars are widely used in ornithological studies, but often the precise detection capabilities of these systems are unknown. Quantification of radar performance is essential to avoid observational biases, which requires practical methods for validating a radar’s detection capability in specific field settings. In this study a method to quantify the detection capability of a bird radar is presented, as well a demonstration of this method in a case study. By time-referencing line-transect surveys, visually identified birds were automatically linked to individual tracks using their transect crossing time. Detection probabilities were determined as the fraction of the total set of visual observations that could be linked to radar tracks. To avoid ambiguities in assigning radar tracks to visual observations, the observer’s accuracy in determining a bird’s transect crossing time was taken into account. The accuracy was determined by examining the effect of a time lag applied to the visual observations on the number of matches found with radar tracks. Effects of flight altitude, distance, surface substrate and species size on the detection probability by the radar were quantified in a marine intertidal study area. Detection probability varied strongly with all these factors, as well as species-specific flight behaviour. The effective detection range for single birds flying at low altitude for an X-band marine radar based system was estimated at ∼1.5 km. Within this range the fraction of individual flying birds that were detected by the radar was 0.50±0.06 with a detection bias towards higher flight altitudes, larger birds and high tide situations. Besides radar validation, which we consider essential when quantification of bird numbers is important, our method of linking radar tracks to ground-truthed field observations can facilitate species-specific studies using surveillance radars. The methodology may prove equally useful for optimising tracking algorithms.

Concepts: Radar tracker, Marine radar, Air traffic control, Bias, Altitude, Flight level, Radar, Scientific method


To realize ground moving target indication (GMTI) for a forward-looking array, we propose a novel synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system, called rotatable cross-track interferometry SAR (Ro-XTI-SAR), for squint-looking application in this paper. By changing the angle of the cross-track baseline, the interferometry phase component of squint-looking Ro-XTI-SAR caused by the terrain height can be approximately adjusted to zero, and then the interferometry phase of Ro-XTI-SAR is only sensitive to targets' motion and can be equivalent to the along track interferometry SAR (ATI-SAR). Furthermore, the conventional displaced phase center array (DPCA) method and constant false alarm (CFAR) processing can be used to accomplish the successive clutter suppression, moving targets detection and relocation. Furthermore, the clutter suppressing performance is discussed with respect to different system parameters. Finally, some results of numerical experiments are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed system.

Concepts: Moving target indication, Radar signal processing, Interferometry, Astronomical interferometer, Detection theory, Synthetic aperture radar, Aperture synthesis, Radar


For modern synthetic aperture radar (SAR), it has much more urgent demands on ground moving target indication (GMTI), which includes not only the point moving targets like cars, truck or tanks but also the distributed moving targets like river or ocean surfaces. Among the existing GMTI methods, displaced phase center antenna (DPCA) can effectively cancel the strong ground clutter and has been widely used. However, its detection performance is closely related to the target’s signal-to-clutter ratio (SCR) as well as radial velocity, and it cannot effectively detect the weak large-sized river surfaces in strong ground clutter due to their low SCR caused by specular scattering. This paper proposes a novel method called relative residue of DPCA (RR-DPCA), which jointly utilizes the DPCA cancellation outputs and the multi-look images to improve the detection performance of weak river surfaces. Furthermore, based on the statistics analysis of the RR-DPCA outputs on the homogenous background, the cell average (CA) method can be well applied for subsequent constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detection. The proposed RR-DPCA method can well detect the point moving targets and distributed moving targets simultaneously. Finally, the results of both simulated and real data are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed SAR/GMTI method.

Concepts: Aperture synthesis, False alarm, Moving target indication, Radar signal processing, Velocity, Synthetic aperture radar, Detection theory, Radar


In spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, it is a challenging task to detect ground slow-moving targets against strong clutter background with limited spatial channels and restricted pulse repetition frequency (PRF). In this paper, we evaluate the image-based dual-channel SAR-ground moving target indication (SAR-GMTI) workflow for the Gaofen-3 SAR sensor and analyze the impact of strong azimuth ambiguities on GMTI when the displaced phase center antenna (DPCA) condition is not fully satisfied, which has not been demonstrated yet. An effective sliding window design technique based on system parameters analysis is proposed to deal with azimuth ambiguities and reduce false alarm. In the SAR-GMTI experiments, co-registration, clutter suppression, constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detector, vector velocity estimation and moving target relocation are analyzed and discussed thoroughly. With the real measured data of the Gaofen-3 dual-channel SAR sensor, the GMTI capability of this sensor is demonstrated and the effectiveness of the proposed method is verified.

Concepts: Moving target indication, Radar signal processing, Beamforming, False alarm, Synthetic aperture radar, Detection theory, Sensor, Radar


In the surveillance of interested regions by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), system performance relies greatly on the motion control strategy of the UAV and the operation characteristics of the onboard sensors. This paper investigates the 2D path planning problem for the lightweight UAV synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system in an environment of multiple regions of interest (ROIs), the sizes of which are comparable to the radar swath width. Taking into account the special requirements of the SAR system on the motion of the platform, we model path planning for UAV SAR as a constrained multiobjective optimization problem (MOP). Based on the fact that the UAV route can be designed in the map image, an image-based path planner is proposed in this paper. First, the neighboring ROIs are merged by the morphological operation. Then, the parts of routes for data collection of the ROIs can be located according to the geometric features of the ROIs and the observation geometry of UAV SAR. Lastly, the route segments for ROIs surveillance are connected by a path planning algorithm named the sampling-based sparse A* search (SSAS) algorithm. Simulation experiments in real scenarios demonstrate that the proposed sensor-oriented path planner can improve the reconnaissance performance of lightweight UAV SAR greatly compared with the conventional zigzag path planner.

Concepts: Robotics, Automated planning and scheduling, Aperture synthesis, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Synthetic aperture radar, Radar, Surveillance aircraft


In spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR), moving targets are almost buried in ground clutter due to the wide clutter Doppler spectrum and the restricted pulse repetition frequency (PRF), which increases the difficulty of moving target detection. Clutter suppression is one of the key issues in the spaceborne SAR moving target indicator operation. In this paper, we describe the clutter suppression principle and analyze the influence of amplitude and phase error on clutter suppression. In the following, a novel dual-channel SAR clutter suppression algorithm is proposed, which is suitable for the Gaofen-3(GF-3) SAR sensor. The proposed algorithm consists of three technique steps, namely adaptive two-dimensional (2D) channel calibration, refined amplitude error correction and refined phase error correction. After channel error is corrected by these procedures, the clutter component, especially a strong clutter component, can be well suppressed. The validity of the proposed algorithm is verified by GF-3 SAR real data which demonstrates the ground moving-target indication (GMTI) capability of GF-3 SAR sensor.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Pulse repetition frequency, Targeting, Stationary target indication, Radar signal processing, Synthetic aperture radar, Moving target indication, Radar


The next generation of radar (radio detection and ranging) systems needs to be based on software-defined radio to adapt to variable environments, with higher carrier frequencies for smaller antennas and broadened bandwidth for increased resolution. Today’s digital microwave components (synthesizers and analogue-to-digital converters) suffer from limited bandwidth with high noise at increasing frequencies, so that fully digital radar systems can work up to only a few gigahertz, and noisy analogue up- and downconversions are necessary for higher frequencies. In contrast, photonics provide high precision and ultrawide bandwidth, allowing both the flexible generation of extremely stable radio-frequency signals with arbitrary waveforms up to millimetre waves, and the detection of such signals and their precise direct digitization without downconversion. Until now, the photonics-based generation and detection of radio-frequency signals have been studied separately and have not been tested in a radar system. Here we present the development and the field trial results of a fully photonics-based coherent radar demonstrator carried out within the project PHODIR. The proposed architecture exploits a single pulsed laser for generating tunable radar signals and receiving their echoes, avoiding radio-frequency up- and downconversion and guaranteeing both the software-defined approach and high resolution. Its performance exceeds state-of-the-art electronics at carrier frequencies above two gigahertz, and the detection of non-cooperating aeroplanes confirms the effectiveness and expected precision of the system.

Concepts: Ultra-wideband, Polarization, Frequency, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Laser, Electromagnetic radiation, Radar, Radio


This article reviews the discovery, development, and use of high-frequency (HF) radio wave backscatter in oceanography. HF radars, as the instruments are commonly called, remotely measure ocean surface currents by exploiting a Bragg resonant backscatter phenomenon. Electromagnetic waves in the HF band (3-30 MHz) have wavelengths that are commensurate with wind-driven gravity waves on the ocean surface; the ocean waves whose wavelengths are exactly half as long as those of the broadcast radio waves are responsible for the resonant backscatter. Networks of HF radar systems are capable of mapping surface currents hourly out to ranges approaching 200 km with a horizontal resolution of a few kilometers. Such information has many uses, including search and rescue support and oil-spill mitigation in real time and larval population connectivity assessment when viewed over many years. Today, HF radar networks form the backbone of many ocean observing systems, and the data are assimilated into ocean circulation models.

Concepts: Light, Radio waves, Frequency, Waves, Radio, Radar, Electromagnetic spectrum, Electromagnetic radiation


The use of dumpers is one of the main causes of accidents in construction sites, many of them with fatal consequences. These kinds of work machines have many blind angles that complicate the driving task due to their large size and volume. To guarantee safety conditions is necessary to use automatic aid systems that can detect and locate the different objects and people in a work area. One promising solution is a radar network based on low-cost radar transceivers aboard the dumper. The complete system is specified to operate with a very low false alarm rate to avoid unnecessary stops of the dumper that reduce its productivity. The main sources of false alarm are the heavy ground clutter, and the interferences between the radars of the network. This article analyses the clutter for LFM signaling and proposes the use of Offset Linear Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (OLFM-CW) as radar signal. This kind of waveform can be optimized to reject clutter and self-interferences. Jointly, a data fusion chain could be used to reduce the false alarm rate of the complete radar network. A real experiment is shown to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed system.

Concepts: Continuous-wave radar, Amplitude modulation, Billie Joe Armstrong, Radio modulation modes, Green Day, Amateur radio, Radio, Radar