3.4A Assessment of Dual-Polarized Radar Coverage in the Terminal Airspaces of Commercial Airports

Monday, 8 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Room 16AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Jacqueline Waters, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma and NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK; and H. D. Reeves and A. Keys

The advent of dual-polarization in the WSR-88D radar network allows for the development of new forms of artificial intelligence to detect various hazards that may affect aircraft as they travel into and out of terminal air spaces. The efficacy of these algorithms for individual airports is limited by the distance between the airport and the nearest WSR-88D radar. In this study, an assessment of the radar coverage for all commercial airports with more than 10 000 enplanements per year is performed. Three deficiencies are identified and discussed. These are: beam broadening and overshooting, cone-of-silence issues, and beam blockage. Airports that suffer from these issues are identified. Among the airports most vulnerable to beam broadening and overshooting are several core 30 airports. Some core 30 airports may also suffer from cone-of-silence issues for certain VCP modes. Beam blockage affects most airports in the western United States. The effects of these problems on interpretation of winter weather and hydrometeor habit, in particular, are also investigated. Beam broadening and overshooting are especially problematic for resolving important vertical gradients in the dual-polarized radar observations that allow the user to rightly infer the hydrometeor habit. Of lesser importance are cone-of-silence issues. This appears to be mainly a problem when there exists a gradient in hydrometeor habit over the terminal air space.
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