In preparation for the full WSR-88D radar test, the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) began to introduce polarimetric radar data and products (from the polarimetric NSSL Cimarron radar) to forecasters at the Norman, OK National Weather Service office in the spring of 2001. As part of the NSSL Warning Decision Support System II software package, a polarimetric Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm provided detailed information on the occurrence of severe hail, location of anomalous propagation, and presence of biological (birds and insects) scatterers. Information on rain intensity was also provided by the algorithm. Future enhancements will include a classification package that will be tuned to better classify hydrometeor types (rain, snow, sleet) that typically occur in winter precipitation events. A polarimetric precipitation estimation algorithm, based on differential reflectivity and specific differential phase measurements, will also be added.
In this paper, we present examples of the polarimetric products that are currently available to operational forecasters, an overview of the products that will be added this fall, and a discussion of the current plans for the broader demonstration project.