An Operational Method for Near Real-Time Estimation of Three-Dimensional Winds using NEXRAD Radar Network

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 9:00 AM
Room C211 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Felisha R. Lawrence, Howard University, Brandywine, MD; and A. E. Emory and E. Joseph

Severe weather systems occurring in large populated metropolitan cities cause millions of dollars in damage, and significant loss of life annually. Landfalling hurricanes as well as bow echoes frequently affect the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, and the nearby coastal area. Extensive studies of severe weather over the last 20-30 years by NASA in partnership with other agencies have yielded important results with regards to storm formation, storm structure, precipitation accumulation, and more importantly, in relation to this study, wind speed and structure. Recently in 2012, there were two major weather events affecting the Washington, DC area; Hurricane Sandy and the June 29, 2012 derecho. Both of these storms caused significant property damage, and widespread power outages. During these two storms, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and the Howard University Beltsville Research Center (HUBRC) collected data. These two research sites often operate in tandem to provide both passive and active remote sensing measurements during weather anomalies. Particularly, this work will focus on analysis of weather radar data, and surface measurements for the June 29, 2012 from GSFC, as well as HUBRC. Currently, there is no operational method for calculating three-dimensional wind structure using weather radar. This is relevant because during storms, such as the June 29, 2012 derecho, straight-line wind damage is responsible for loss of life, as well as property damage. This work aims to investigate the possibility of calculating the three-dimensional wind field in near real-time through the use of Weather Surveillance Radar 1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radars, as well as surfaced based instruments in the surrounding Washington, DC Metropolitan area. The dual-Doppler technique will be implemented using the national network of WSR-88D NEXRAD radars, as well as radar data from other local radars to develop an operational system for near real-time three-dimensional wind detection. The success of this new method could provide new implications for nowcasting purposes, thus aiding in better safety preparation for impending severe weather systems.