Opened 11 years ago

#59 new enhancement

Conventions for radial RADAR and LIDAR data

Reported by: mikedixon Owned by: cf-conventions@…
Priority: medium Milestone:
Component: cf-conventions Version:
Keywords: radial radar lidar Cc:


1. Title

Conventions for radial RADAR and LIDAR data

2. Moderator


3. Requirement

The proposed convention will support the following:

  • representing radial data on a ray-by-ray basis, with no loss of information
  • storing all required meta-data

4. Initial Statement of Technical Proposal

The principal coordinate variables are 'time' and 'range'. Data fields are stored as 1-D arrays, with time varying slowly and range fast. Metadata for each ray, such as elevation and azimuth angles, are stored as simple 1-D arrays with a single coordinate, 'time'. Ragged arrays are not supported - all rays must have the same number of gates and identical range geometry.

5. Benefits

Communities that would benefit from this proposal:

  • scientists using RADAR and LIDAR data
  • modelers who wish to read RADAR and LIDAR data for the purpose of data assimilation

New capabilities provided to the community:

  • a modern standard data interchange format for radial RADAR and LIDAR data
  • the ability to read and write this format using common tools such as MatLab?, FORTRAN, Java and C++

Example use cases:

  • storing raw radial data from field instruments
  • displaying radial data
  • modifying radial data using editor applications similar to 'soloii'
  • running analysis programs using radial data
  • reading radial RADAR and LIDAR data into numerical models for data assimilation purposes

6. Status Quo

No existing CF convention, to the author's knowledge, allows representing radial RADAR and LIDAR data in the required manner.

The DORADE format, from NCAR/EOL, has the capability to represent data of this type accurately and appropriately. However, this is a specialized binary format. Generally only legacy C applications are available for reading and writing DORADE.

For more information on DORADE, see:

7. Detailed Proposal

Because of it length, the detailed proposal may be found at:

More general information relating to the use of radial data at NCAR may be found at:

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