4.2 Pioneering the Use of Doppler Radar in Tropical Cyclones

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 1:45 PM
2AB (Washington State Convention Center )
Frank D. Marks Jr., NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL

Radar played an important role in studies of tropical cyclones since it was developed in the 1940’s. Beginning in 1982, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) WP-3D tail airborne Doppler radar produced a new generation of tropical cyclone data whose analysis provided an unprecedented opportunity to document the dynamics and precipitation of tropical cyclones, and led to improved understanding of these devastating storms. Bob Houze was a key player in the development of this revolutionary new tool. The NOAA WP-3D airborne Doppler data sets led to improved understanding of the symmetric vortex and the major asymmetries, and their temporal evolution over 3-6 h. The WP-3D airborne Doppler were also instrumental in developing algorithms to objectively analyze a tropical cyclone’s wind field by determining the storm location, and defining the primary, secondary, and major asymmetric circulations. These analyses were also critical in understanding the hydrometeor distribution within the tropical cyclone and the importance of stratiform precipitation processes. While these new data sets led to improved understanding, they also led to a number of new challenges the radar meteorology community is tackling by transferring the understanding gained into new applications and improved numerical weather prediction.
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