Severe weather climatologies based on NEXRAD and other data from the Severe Weather Data Inventory (SWDI)
The Severe Weather Data Inventory (SWDI) at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) provides a searchable and downloadable database of several years of data critical to the detection and evaluation of severe weather. These datasets include:
- NEXRAD Level-III point features describing general storm structure, hail, mesocyclone and tornado signatures
- National Weather Service Storm Events Database
- National Weather Service Local Storm Reports collected from storm spotters
- National Weather Service Warnings
- Lightning strikes from Vaisala's National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN)
There are, however, many challenges and questions involved in producing such climatologies. Since there are regions of the US not covered by any radar site, a lack of data in a region cannot be interpreted as an absence of events from that region. In addition, many regions are covered by more than one radar site, which means that the same event may be represented multiple times in SWDI data. Furthermore, NEXRAD Level-III point features do not represent confirmed events --- they represent signatures present in the original reflectivity data that indicate a likelihood of an event. When aggregated over an extended time period, however, the data may provide insights into severe weather patterns not detectable by other means.
This presentation will describe a new project whose goal is to produce meaningful climatology products from SWDI data. It will cover some of the successes and challenges, some techniques for addressing the challenges, and some ideas for assessing the validity of the resulting products.
Supplementary URL: http://www3.nemac.unca.edu/swdiclimatology