On track

September 07, 2000

Using signals from GPS satellites, an ONR-funded researcher has developed a much more precise method of locating intercontinental-range ballistic missiles and other exo-atmospheric (space) targets. Electromagnetic signals from space are bent by the atmosphere much the same way light is bent when it passes through water. Existing tracking methods use climatological data to deduce the amount of bending the signal should incur due to air moisture and temperature.

Because these deductions are not always entirely accurate, the target's actual location and its presumed location can be off by several miles. A researcher at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colo., has devised a way to make this tracking more accurate.

Using a radio instrument to first track GPS satellites, whose exact positions are known, the amount of bending the signal is enduring in a certain atmospheric region can be determined. A target's signal in the same atmospheric region should be experiencing the same degree of bending due to similar atmospheric conditions, and thus an accurate position for the target is discovered. This technology has applications in high-precision tracking radars.

"The preliminary results are very successful," said ONR Program Manager Scott Sandgathe, "but it will need to be tested in more environments and seasons" before it finds its way into the Fleet. The next planned experiment will take place in southern California during September to coincide with the strong Santa Anna winds.
-end-


Office of Naval Research

Related Atmospheric Articles from Brightsurf:

Atmospheric dust levels are rising in the Great Plains
A study finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year.

New, rapid mechanism for atmospheric particle formation
Carnegie Mellon University researchers working with an international team of scientists have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that allows atmospheric particles to very rapidly form under certain conditions.

Atmospheric tidal waves maintain Venus' super-rotation
An international research team led by Takeshi Horinouchi of Hokkaido University has revealed that the 'super-rotation' on Venus is maintained near the equator by atmospheric tidal waves formed from solar heating on the planet's dayside and cooling on its nightside.

Atmospheric chemists move indoors
Most people spend the majority of their time at home, yet little is known about the air they breathe inside their houses.

Daily rainfall over Sumatra linked to larger atmospheric phenomenon
In a new study led by atmospheric scientist Giuseppe Torri at the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), researchers revealed details of the connection between a larger atmospheric phenomenon, termed the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), and the daily patterns of rainfall in the Maritime Continent.

Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.

New clues to origins of mysterious atmospheric waves in Antarctica
CU Boulder team finds link between gravity waves in the upper and lower Antarctic atmosphere, helping create a clearer picture of global air circulation.

Responses of the tropical atmospheric circulation to climate change
An international team describes the climate change-induced responses of the tropical atmospheric circulation and their impacts on the hydrological cycle.

Atmospheric seasons could signal alien life
To complement traditional biosignatures, and thanks to funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, scientists at the University of California, Riverside's Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center are developing the first quantitative framework for dynamic biosignatures based on seasonal changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Eurasian atmospheric circulation anomalies can persist from winter to the following spring
Surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies have pronounced impacts on agriculture, socioeconomic development, and people's daily lives.

Read More: Atmospheric News and Atmospheric Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.