Weather Radar Theory & Practice

August 21, 2017
M W 10:00-11:15
METR 5673.001


Robert Palmer
Professor; Tommy C. Craighead Chair; Associate VP for Research


National Weather Center, Room 5930, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK   View map


Fall 2017


Weather Radar Theory and Practice



MW, 10:00-11:15 am, NWC 5930

Fall 2017


Instructor:            Prof. Robert Palmer (

Office & Hours:     RIL 106, 325-6319, Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm or by email appointment Class Homepage:    Administered through Canvas ( Prerequisites:         C or better in MATH 3113 and Phys 2524 and graduate status


Required Text:     Doppler Radar and Weather Observations, 2nd Ed, R. J. Doviak and D. S. Zrnic, 1993.

Dover  Publications  (2006)


References:            Getting Started with MATLAB, R. Pratap, Oxford Press

Atmospheric Science, 2nd Ed, J. Wallace and P. Hobbs, 2006

Fundamentals of Signals and Systems, 23rd Ed, E. W. Kamen and B. S. Heck, 2006 Probability, Random Variables, and Stochastic Processes, 4th Ed, A. Papoulis Fundamental of Applied Electromagnetics, 7th Ed, F. T. Ulaby, 2014

Course Content


Chapter 1   Motivation and Historical Perspective of Weather Radar Chapter 2   Electromagnetic Waves  and Propagation

Introduction: Atmospheric Structure, Basic Electromagnetics

Chapter 3   Weather Radar Design Principles

Introduction:  Antenna Fundamentals, Fourier  Transforms, Filtering

                                          Mid-Term Examination                                          

Chapter 4   Signal Statistics and the Weather Radar Equation

Introduction:  Random Processes

Chapter 5   Doppler Spectra of Weather Signals

Introduction:  Discrete  Fourier  Transform,  Digital  Filters Chapter 6   Doppler Moment Estimation – Time and Frequency Domain      Chapter 7   Techniques for Improved Data Quality (Dr. Sebastian Torres, NSSL)

                                              Final Examination                                              



Radar Operation Experience (2)                     10%

Signal Processing Assignments (4-6)                 30%

Mid-Term Examination                                 30%

Final Examination                                       30%

(Tuesday, December 12, 8:00-10:00 am)

Course Information

  • Lectures, homeworks, and projects will emphasize the theoretical and analytical foundations of weather The class will not emphasize interpretation of weather radar data although prac- tical examples of the concepts taught in class will be covered. After a fundamental coverage of atmospheric structure, electromagnetics, and basic radar design, emphasis will be placed on digital signal processing of I/Q time series data in order to estimate the Doppler spectrum moments.
  • Academic Honesty: Assignments are important for your understanding of the Occasional help from a classmate is fine but be sure that you actually understand the material. It will help tremendously for you to come visit me in my office hours. You will be pleasantly surprised that I am not as mean as I look. Realize that simply copying an assignment from any source is considered cheating and will definitely not help your understanding. If caught, such activity could result in a failing grade in the course and possible disciplinary action. All students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the OU Academic Misconduct Code. Information on this code and other student policies is  located  at
  • Plagiarism: Please read the document Nine Things You Should Already Know About .., which is posted on Canvas. You will be held responsible for your understanding of plagiarism.
  • Assignments: No late assignments will be
  • “Dead Week”: Note that a final assignment or project may be due during Dead
  • Homework: Homework assignments will be provided but will not be Solutions will be available to help your understanding and to review for the examinations.
  • Examinations: If you cannot be present for an examination, it is YOUR responsibility to make other arrangements before the Otherwise, the missed test cannot be retaken.
  • Class participation is It is easier to ask a question during class rather than trying to learn the material on your own.
  • Reasonable Accommodation Policy: The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reason- able accommodation for all students with disabilities. Those having such a need are requested to speak with Prof. Palmer as early in the semester as possible. Students with disabilities also must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) prior to receiving accommodations in this course. You may contact the ODS at Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 405-325-3852 or TTD only at 405-325-4173.
120 David L Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072 (405) 325-6561