A sun-tracking method to improve the pointing accuracy of weather radar
Accurate positioning of data collected by a weather radar is of primary importance for their appropriate georeferencing, which in turn makes it possible to combine those with additional sources of information (topography, land cover maps, meteorological simulations from numerical weather models to list a few). This issue is especially acute for mobile radar systems, for which accurate and stable leveling might be difficult to ensure. The sun is a source of microwave radiation, which can be detected by weather radars and used for accurate positioning of radar data. This paper presents a technique based on the similarity between theodolites and radar systems as well as on the sun echoes to quantify and hence correct the instrumental errors which can affect the pointing accuracy of radar antenna. The proposed method is applied to data collected in the Swiss Alps using a mobile X-band radar system. The obtained instrumental bias values are evaluated by comparing the locations of the ground echoes predicted using these bias estimates with the observed ground echo locations. The very good agreement between the two confirms the accuracy of the proposed method.