NWS Radar Product Improvement – Update 2015
As the NWS gains experience with WSR-88D dual polarization, the focus of radar product improvement includes: assessing and improving radar calibration, tuning algorithms to address performance issues seen in certain geographic and climatic regions, and preparing to transition emerging radar science and signal processing technology to operations. The intent of this focus is to significantly increase the operational benefit of dual polarization.
In addition to WSR-88D efforts, the NWS 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 science, techniques and Phased Array technology.