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Cuong M. Nguyen, V. Chandrasekar and Dmitri N. Moisseev

Dep. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

Clutter mitigation is an important aspect to improve the radar data quality and ensure the
correct functioning of any weather radar system. Conventional clutter filters like the Finite
Impulse Response Filters (FIR), Infinite Impulse Response (IIR) Elliptic Filter, and Regression
Filter function by removing the spectral components in a band centered around zero frequency.
These filters operate by applying a filter function or regression polynomials to the time series.
However, when the weather radial velocity is small, the use of these filters removes the clutter
power but it also creates a void in the overlapped weather spectrum due to filtering and makes no
attempt to repair the filter bias. Gaussian Model Adaptive Processing (GMAP) (Siggia and
Passarelli 2004) was developed to overcome the drawback of traditional IIR/FIR clutter filter.
GMAP is a frequency domain approach ground clutter filter which uses a Gaussian model for
both clutter and precipitation spectra. Depending on the assumed clutter width, GMAP
determines the number of spectral components around the zero Doppler region which should be
notched. Then, a Gaussian model interpolation procedure is applied to partially recover the
discarded spectral components of the weather echo. The biggest limitation of spectral processing
methods is the window effect that associates with the calculation of discrete Fourier transform
(DFT). This problem restricts the applicability of spectral clutter filtering method to cases of
moderate clutter to signal ratio (CSR). Even with the case of moderate CSR, finite length of the
data introduces clutter leakage problem that results large error in sensitive parameters’ estimation
such as correlation coefficient and differential propagation phase. In addition, GMAP can not be
employed for non-uniform pulsing techniques like staggered PRT scheme.
Nguyen et al. 2008 presented a parametric time domain method (PTDM) for clutter
mitigation and spectral moment estimation. In this method, the processing is carried out in time
domain and the clutter and precipitation are estimated simultaneously. PTDM provides many
advantages over other techniques such as clutter suppression ability up to CSR=60dB; adaptive
with arbitrary radar waveforms and block pulsing mode. The main drawback of PTDM is
computational expense that prevents it from being put into real time operation.
In this work, we developed a Gaussian Model Adaptive Time Domain Filter (GMAT) for
clutter mitigation and spectral moment estimation. The proposed filter addresses two things.
Firstly, it will overcome disadvantages of spectral processing method as pointed out above.
Secondly, it is able to be applied with the staggered PRT techniques used for range-velocity
ambiguity mitigation. However, the most important advantage is that it can be implemented for
real time application using general computer processors.
The auto-covariance function of the received signal can be written as a sum of auto-
covariance functions of the clutter, weather and noise. Consider a filter matrix A with same
dimension as Rx. The auto-covariance matrix of the filtered signal will be Ry=ARxAH. The
concept of designing this filter is “whitening” the clutter component in the received auto-
covariance matrix Rx. It is shown that the filter A can be adaptively calculated from the
estimated clutter covariance matrices and noise power. Obviously, if the clutter overlaps
weather, a part of weather is also whitened. To mitigate this problem, an interpolation procedure
is developed to recover the whitened part of the weather (Fig. 1).

x/R Filter
R̂ y
Estimate spectral vˆ P , wˆ P , PˆP Gaussian
A +
+ moments from
cov. matrix

cov. matrix


Figure 1: Time domain interpolation using Gaussian model

Moreover, the design of filter matrix does not depend on the way the data is sampled. As a
result, the filter design can be directly extended for staggered PRT technique. However, due to
the natural properties of staggered PRT sampling, this filter introduces an unexpected notch in
the Doppler range. The notch is specific for each staggered PRT scheme. Fortunately, if the
precipitation echo locates at this frequency band, the incorrect estimated velocity will differ from
the true value a known offset. Therefore, this problem can be solved simply by comparing the
two likelihood functions of the received signal (Nguyen et. al. 2008) at the two potential values
of signal velocity.
This work is illustrated on simulated data and CSU-CHILL observations for both uniform
and staggered PRT 2/3 sampling scheme. The results show that the proposed filter archives
comparable performance to that by PTDM even at very high CSR (CSR=60dB) while it is 10
times faster.