CASA-DFW Radar Networking and Control Infrastructure as a Research-to-Operations Enabler

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings
Eric J. Lyons, CASA, Amherst, MA; and D. L. Pepyne, V. Chandrasekar, H. Chen, A. Bajaj, B. J. Philips, J. Brotzge, D. Westbrook, and M. Zink

The ten-year (2003-2013) National Science Foundation funded Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), developed the technologies and concepts-of-operation for dense networks of overlapping, short-wavelength weather radars. To facilitate research-to-operations (R2O) of CASA's technologies, a network of CASA-type radars is being deployed in the Dallas, Fort-Worth metroplex. At the heart of the CASA-DFW network is the CASA Meteorological Command and Control (MCC). The MCC is a “plug-and-play” architecture that allows any radar that complies with CASA's performance, data interface, and control interface specifications to become a participant in the network. The data from participating radars is sent to a central control center the Dallas Radar Operations Center (DROC), where it is mined by the MCC each minute for automated closed-loop feedback control of where and how each radar scans, for multi-Doppler scanning, for providing diverse views for attenuation management, and for focusing the radars on areas of meteorological concern. The MCC also aggregates data for the generation of merged reflectivity, vector wind, and dual-pol QPE products. Data is disseminated through the MCC to numerical weather prediction, hydrological models, and to end-user decision support tools. These decision support tools, which serve local public safety officials and National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters, include the CASA stakeholder web-portal and the AWIPS II system, the operational radar data portal for NWS forecast offices. Going beyond radars, the MCC provides an infrastructure through which vendors of a variety of meteorological sensors can link their equipment to the radars to validate and demonstrate their technology without having to incur the cost of establishing their own network. This paper overviews CASA's radar and interface specifications, the CASA MCC, and the capability of the MCC to integrate radar technologies ranging from mechanically scanned dish radars to solid state phased array panels. The paper then illustrates some of the high-resolution weather products being produced by the CASA-DFW network on the CASA-DFW stakeholder web-portal and the AWIPS II system.