2A.2 Virtual CHILL (VCHILL): Bringing Radar to Remote Users

Monday, 7 January 2013: 4:15 PM
Room 11AB (Austin Convention Center)
Joseph Hardin, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; and M. Rausch and V. Chandrasekar

Virtual CHILL (VCHILL) is a software program designed to bring the radar experience to remote users over the internet. VCHILL is a Java cross-platform radar visualization and exploration program that allows users to connect to numerous different radars and view both real time data as it is captured, as well as exploring archives of data. It is currently being used at multiple locations in multiple roles. It has been used extensively for education, both at the collegiate level, as well as being used in several conference tutorial sessions. There is a large number of users analyzing real radar data with it as well. It requires no setup, being run from a browser, allowing users to be online and using it in a matter of seconds.

VCHILL has several different modes. The first one allows a user to connect to one of several different radars and view all of the radar products in real time as they are generated by the radar. This allows VCHILL to be used as an operational tool for many different radars including CSU-CHILL, Helsinki's Kumpula Radar, and the NASA D3R radar system. In addition to real time, VCHILL has the capability to display a large amount of archived data from the CSU-CHILL radar, comprising about 14 years of historical data. This data contains many different meteorological condition. Accompanying this archived data is a large number of full length articles explaining different meteorological conditions accompanying the radar data as it is analyzed. Users can see the different radar products and what they mean in the context of the atmospheric conditions at the given moment. This allows VCHILL to serve as a educational tool for those interested in radar data, and atmospheric science. There are many different meteorological events covered, including tornadoes, forest fires, hail, and many more.

Virtual CHILL has a complete interactive mapping interface allowing users to display a large variety of maps including everything from topography to population density, as well as current NEXRAD composites, and MODIS imagery. This allows a user to understand the radar data in the context of the surrounding geographic and urban areas. Along with the mapping a user may annotate the data and save the data to a local machine, by single scans and products, or as an animation over a time period. This allows a user to create visualizations that can be taken out of VCHILL and into reports and presentations. VCHILL can also be used to analyze local data, supporting many different file formats including several netcdf formats and Sigmet's IRIS Raw format.

All of these capabilities combine to make VCHILL a very capable platform for bringing an interactive radar experience to remote users, both in operational, educational, and scientific capacities. VCHILL can be accessed at http://www.chill.colostate.edu/w/VCHILL.


V. Chandrasekar, D. Brunkow, and A. P. Jayasumana, “CSU-CHILL operation over the internet: Virtual CSU-CHILL”, 30th International Conference on Radar Meteorology, Munich, Germany, 2001.

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