Advancements in Radar Technology to Detect Severe Local Storms

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 4:30 PM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Pamela L. Heinselman, NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK; and D. W. Burgess

This talk focuses on three primary aspects of the science and technology regarding radar and severe local storm detection. The first is discussion of the current state of radar technologies. The completion of the dual polarization upgrade to the WSR-88D network in 2013, for example, is providing nation-wide observations of storm microphysical properties previously unavailable. This upgrade is the result of about 30 years of dual polarization radar research; significant outcomes include hydrometeor identification within storms and advancements in rainfall estimation and ground clutter mitigation. Ongoing engineering advancements, such as the development of active phased array antennas with dual polarization, promise to revolutionize observations of severe storm evolution via the development of adaptive, rapid scanning techniques.

The second aspect discussed are the trade-offs and limitations of current and future radar technologies and their applications. These trade offs and limitations are driven by several elements, such as radar engineering design, scanning strategy design, radar coverage, and signal processing techniques. The third aspect discussed is assessment of the current challenges and how future advancements in radar technology may improve detection and warning for severe local storms over the next 5 to 10 years. This part of the presentation will explore how advancements in radar technology and the assimilation of radar observations into models could transform our warning paradigm from one in which we warn-on-detection of severe storm precursors, to one where we warn-on-forecast.