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Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA)

Sub Type:
Research Areas:
NSF Award:

Management and Operation of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2008-2013  (University Corporation For Atmospheric Res)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA) is an airborne, dual beam, meteorological research radar developed jointly by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and France's Centre de Recherches en Physique de L'Environnement Terrestre et Planetaire (CRPE.) ELDORA is a part of NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL); its first deployment was to the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) in the Solomon Islands in January and February 1993.

ELDORA mounts on a Lockheed P-3 aircraft, operated by the Naval Research Lab (NRL). Its two antennas extend back from the tail of the aircraft and spin about the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. One antenna points slightly ahead of the aircraft and one slightly aft. As the aircraft translates the antennas through space ELDORA traces two conical helixes through the atmosphere, essentially observing all of the atmosphere with two separate looks within 50-100 kilometers of the aircraft.

ELDORA’s mobility allows observations of clouds, convective systems and storms over remote regions. ELDORA is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Education & Outreach

EOL's summer undergraduate engineering internship program provides a unique and valuable experience to prepare engineering students for successful careers. While working at EOL, interns help develop new instrumentation and improve our existing suite of NSF/NCAR lower atmospheric observing facilities. Most internships also offer the opportunity to gain practical experience operating facilities in the field by deploying on one of EOL's NSF-funded research projects. Interns are encouraged to develop their own engineering solutions as they work with and are mentored by professional, experienced engineers and technicians. During the internship, interns have access to a large number of resources such as sophisticated testing and calibration instruments, technical documentation, state-of-the art fabrication capabilities.

Undergraduate as well as graduate students can apply to help with the operation and maintenance of EOL equipment during domestic and international field deployments. Most positions are in support of the Integrated Sounding System (ISS) and the GPS Advanced Upper Air Sounding System (GAUS) with occasional opportunities related to radar and dropsonde operations. Responsibilities often include launching of sondes at predetermined schedules, maintenance of proper operations of all equipment, data collection and processing activities, document preparation as well as help with set-up and tear-down.

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  • Image from an NSF-funded radar facility.