34th Conference on Radar Meteorology


The New Weather Radar for America's Space Program in Florida: Scan Strategy Design

William P. Roeder, U.S. Air Force, Patrick AFB, FL; and D. A. Short

A new weather radar is being acquired for use in support of America's space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and Patrick AFB on the east coast of central Florida. This new radar replaces the modified WSR 74C at Patrick AFB that has been in use since 1984. The new radar is a Radtec TDR 43 250, which has Doppler and dual polarization capability. A new scan strategy was designed to best support the Florida space program. This scan strategy represents a complex compromise between many competing factors. For example, a volume scan less than 3 minutes was required to deal with the rapidly changing Florida summer thunderstorms. A fine vertical resolution in the temperature layer where electrification occurs was required for improved lightning forecasting and evaluation of Lightning Launch Commit Criteria (the rules that avoid rocket triggered lightning). The new scan strategy provided 33% better resolution in that layer than the already excellent resolution from the previous radar. Excellent low altitude coverage was also required for improved thunderstorm formation prediction, which is dominated by low level boundary interactions in the Florida summer. The lowest beam in the new scan strategy is at 0.2a, significantly lower than most weather radars, and has the next two beams with their half-power beam widths stacked on top of each other. The new scan strategy also needed to provide excellent interrogation of anvil clouds. Finally, large reduction of the Cone of Silence was also required. This paper will summarize the development of the new scan strategy. Several months of use of the new radar should have occurred by the conference and any modifications to the scan strategy that were required will also be discussed.

Two other related abstracts on this new radar are being submitted to this conference, one overviews of the new radar, and one outlines a temperature profile adaptive scan strategy being developed to further improve use of the new radar.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (192K)

Poster Session 6, Severe Weather and Mesoscale Meteorology
Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, President's Ballroom

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