An investigation into the contamination of WSR-88D VAD wind profile output by migrating birds
MetadataShow full item record
The VAD Wind Profile (VWP), a time-height display of winds computed by the National Weather Service's WSR-88D radar, is known on occasion to have errors at night during the fall and spring seasons. Several studies, such Haro and Gauthreaux (1998), confirm that migrating birds often contaminate the VWP output. By means of telescopic observations of a full moon, birds were observed flying on two nights when VWP contamination was suspected. The nature of the VWP errors is consistent with migrating birds due to the seasonality, nocturnal nature, and the magnitude of the errors found (greater than 10 knots). With careful selection of data, two clusters of points on the Velocity-Azimuth Display (VAD) are found to exist at certain altitudes when birds begin migrating. One cluster of points is due to radar sample volumes containing birds, and the other cluster is from radar sample volumes without birds. Being able to determine which cluster represents the wind could allow the wind to be calculated by the VWP. Present limitations with the Radar Product Generator's processor and memory prohibit a very advanced detection algorithm. Two simple objective techniques to determine the existence of the two clusters, and determine the wind, were tested. While they show some promise, these methods require further operational testing to determine their usefulness for real-time warning of bird contamination and the reporting of the true wind.
Schulze, Karl Werner (2003). An investigation into the contamination of WSR-88D VAD wind profile output by migrating birds. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from