[meteorite-list] Workshop on Using Radar Imagery for Meteorite Fall Detection and Recovery

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:00:45 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201312121800.rBCI0jdr012419_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Workshop on Using Radar Imagery for Meteorite Fall Detection and Recovery

Conveners: Marc Fries and Mike Zolensky (NASA Johnson Space Center)

September 7, 2014 in Casablanca, Morocco (just prior to the 77th
Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society Meeting in Casablanca)

Weather radar imagery is a proven new means of locating fresh meteorite
falls. In the United States, weather radars have assisted in the recovery
of the Sutter's Mill and Battle Mountain meteorite falls, as well as two
more falls in Alabama and California within the past two years. This
presents an opportunity, because weather radars are operated by national
weather bureaus worldwide, and usually make their radar imagery available
to the public. It should be possible for researchers around the world to
use their local weather radar networks to locate meteorite falls. This
workshop has the goal of teaching researchers how to analyze weather radar
imagery in their own country for real-time meteorite fall information,
thereby greatly increasing the recovery rate for new large meteorite falls.

The recent detection of meteorite falls in the U.S. was possible because
weather radar imagery was rapidly disseminated by the nationwide, civil
weather radar network ("NEXRAD") operated by the US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radar imagery dissemination was so rapid,
in fact, that in all four falls, radar imagery showing falling meteorites
was available for download from a NOAA website while meteorites were still
falling towards the ground. The scientific community benefitted measurably
from these fall events through research performed on these fresh meteorites.
For the Sutter's Mill fall, a local research institution coordinated a very
successful, consortium-based retrieval, record-keeping, and analysis effort
of the fall. All of these factors combine to produce a proven model for future
meteorite recovery efforts.

This model can be applied worldwide. Weather radar networks are not
particular to the United States, and in fact the UN World Meteorological
Office states that there are about 75 national weather radar networks
around the globe. This means that a large portion of the world's landmass is
continually scanned for falling meteorites, and this represents a tremendous
but untapped scientific potential. The quality and accessibility of these
radar data are widely variable, however. In this workshop we will discuss the
basics of detection of meteorite falls via weather radar, the attributes
of radar data that are helpful for identifying meteorite fall signatures
and how to employ them, and the particulars of obtaining radar imagery
for research purposes. As with the Sutter's Mill meteorite fall, it
should be possible for any scientific institution to locate fresh
meteorite falls using existing instrumentation, and then lead meteorite
recovery and research efforts which will benefit the institution, the
local populace, and the meteoritics research community as a whole.
Received on Thu 12 Dec 2013 01:00:45 PM PST

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