NWC REU 2018
May 21 - July 31



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Investigating Humidity Gradient Detection Using Bragg Scatter

Breecia Crawford


What is already known:

  • Refractivity and humidity are prevalent in the atmosphere
  • Passive bistatic radar improves the power seen from bragg scatter compared to a monostatic radar
  • Sharp changes in the refractive index can cause atmospheric ducts to form

What this study adds:

  • Radar simulations can detect sharp changes in refractivity within the atmosphere using bragg scatter
  • Maximum power received can be visualized vertically showing an increase in power received at the similar altitude as the change in refractivity potentially allowing the ability to locate ducts
  • Future research should be conducted to build on the refractive index in order to find humidity data using radar


In real time and within a volume of space, humidity weather data is not readily available to all parts of the globe. Radar has the potential to provide such data. The ability to identify sharp changes in the refractive index is a first step in solving the larger issue of humidity. Using real weather data outputs from a large-eddy simulator (LES), a code was created to convert the data outputs into inputs for a passive multistatic radar simulator in an attempt to identify where fluctuations in the refractive index occur. The LES to radar simulator conversion code, used for identification of refractive index, and potential for the success of the simulation are investigated and discussed.

Full Paper [PDF]