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What is Ground Clutter? Not all targets, especially near the receiver, are meteorological in nature.Still image:
Size: 3454 x 2590
Acquisition: Graphic, Scanned illustration
Frame rate: still
Clearance: No releases required
Location: Graphic
License: Royalty Free
Usage: Creative and Editorial
Point of view: Other
Geography: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Time shot: N/A

Season shot: N/A

Still images available: Y
Keywords:   Radars, Weather Explanations, Weather Radar
Asset ID: 5394
Title: What is Ground Clutter?
Concept: Not all targets, especially near the receiver, are meteorological in nature.
Detail: Though modern radar processing techniques have significantly reduced the problem, when one looks at a radar display, there is oftne a quasi-circular blotch of echoes at the center of the scope which are referred to as "ground clutter." This results from the inevitable characteristics of radar antennas. In spite of the most careful design, which tends to make a pencil thin beam, a certain amount of microwave radiation is scattered upward and downward in what are called side lobes. These have only the smallest fraction of the energy of the main lobe* However, when the radar is operating in essentially a horizontal mode, some of the side lobes are directed downward striking nearby buildings, trees, towers, power lines, etc. These solid targets are so close and reflect radiation so well, some of the radiation is received by the antenna and displayed as a target. Radar siting to avoid ground clutter is a difficult art and generally the smoother the landscape and the fewer the buildings, the fewer the troubles. Oddly enough, the taller a tower, the greater the ground clutter problems there will be. Most radars have a ground clutter pattern extending between 10 and 25 miles. Ground clutter is one reason why most National Weather Service radars are now located outside of the city for which they are providing the major service. NEXRAD radars usually "throw away" returns that don't have some motion, and thus can surpress stationary ground targets.

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