Comparison of evaporation duct height measurement methods and their impact on radar propagation estimates
Whalen, John David
Davidson, Kenneth L.
Wash, Carlyle H.
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A study was performed to compare shipboard measurements of atmospheric parameters that impact the evaporation duct and its effect on the propagation of electromagnetic energy from the AEGIS AN/SPY-1 radars. Two ships, USS ANZIO and USS CAPE ST GEORGE, participated in the annual NATO exercise, BALTOPS, during the summer of 1997. They were equipped with an automated METOC sensor system, developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, called SEAWASP. SEAWASP provided continuous measurement of parameters determining near surface refractivity and the evaporative duct throughout the cruise. SEAWASP data were compared with manual bridge observations in order to illustrate the difference in propagation conditions assessed by the two methods. Additionally, ERS-1 Scatterometer wind data were used in conjunction with SEAWASP data to determine the feasibility of incorporating satellite wind data in determining evaporative duct heights. The automated SEAWASP data was able to depict, with greater accuracy, the constantly changing duct height conditions whereas the bridge observations, made at hourly intervals, lacked temporal resolution, thereby missing much of the variation in duct height. The discrepancies in duct heights between the two measurement systems led to differing propagation ranges resulting in shorter reaction times to counter threats to the ship.
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