In March 2009, a meteorological Ka-Band cloud radar (MIRA36), designed by METEK GmbH, was installed at CIAO. It is a mono static magnetron-based pulsed Ka-Band Doppler radar for unattended long term observation of clouds properties. In the configuration operative at CIAO, linear polarized signal is transmitted while co- and cross polarized signals are received simultaneously to detect Doppler spectra of the reflectivity and Linear Depolarization Ratio (LDR). The reflectivity is used to determine the density of cloud constituents while LDR helps to identify the target type.

The radar has a 1 m diameter antenna and emits the microwave radiation at 35.5 GHz with a peak power of 30 kW, a pulse width of 200 ns and a pulse repetition rate of 5 KHz. The antenna beam width is 0.6° x 0.6°  (gain 49 dBi) and the radar sensitivity is -40.3 dBZ at 5 km (0.1 sec time resolution) while the Doppler velocity resolution is 0.02 m/s. The linear depolarization ratio (LDR) accuracy is within +/- 2.0 dB. The receiver calibration is within an accuracy of less than +/- 1 dB.

This system is able to provide high accurate measurements of the reflectivity factor with a vertical resolution up to 15 m, though the current configuration is set to a vertical resolution of 30 m. The system is also equipped with a clutter fence that strongly suppresses the ground clutter echo. The radar is also equipped with a 3D scanning unit and it has been the first radar system in Europe working in Ka-band with the possibility of performing a +90° scanning of the atmosphere. Radar profiles typically measured at CIAO have a vertical resolution of 30 m (200 ns pulse length) and a temporal resolution of 10 seconds. The typical measurement range is about 15 km above the ground but during scanning scenarios the maximum range can be extended along the line-of-sight.

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Contact person: Fabio Madonna