NEXRAD Product Improvement – Update 2014
As the NWS gains experience with the WSR-88D dual polarization products, it's clear that the initial algorithms need tuning to address performance issues seen in certain geographic and climatic regions, and that much more operational benefit can be realized by infusing additional radar science and signal processing technology. NWS funding constraints have sharply reduced NPI resources, which has reduced the scope and speed at which algorithms and technology can be infused into the WSR-88D. However, steady progress continues at a reduced capacity and scope.
In addition to WSR-88D efforts, the NPI program integrated weather data from several FAA radar systems into NWS operational use. Data from all 45 Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) units are used to generate WSR-88D type products to provide supplemental low altitude coverage and tornado detection, as well as enhanced WSR-88D back-up operations. On the horizon are potential projects for short wavelength, boundary layer radars to improve low altitude tornado detection and to support storm scale NWP models. A bit further out is the potential for incorporation of Phased Array Antenna technology, with its promise of comprehensive, rapid scanning surveillance.
This paper updates the status of radar product improvement projects, describes recent science and technology enhancements to the WSR-88D, and explores the expanding opportunities for development and implementation of new radar science and techniques intended to use WSR-88D and FAA weather radar data.