Weather Radar Network Benefit Model for Tornadoes

John Y. N. Cho Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, Massachusetts

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James M. Kurdzo Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, Massachusetts

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Abstract

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement of two key radar parameters—fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution—leads to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false-alarm ratio. Previous experimental results showing faster volume scan rates yielding greater warning performance are also incorporated into the model. Enhanced tornado warning performance, in turn, reduces casualty rates. In addition, lower false-alarm ratios save costs by cutting down on work and personal time lost while taking shelter. The model is run on the existing contiguous U.S. weather radar network as well as hypothetical future configurations. Results show that the current radars provide a tornado-based benefit of ~$490 million (M) yr−1. The remaining benefit pool is about $260M yr−1, split roughly evenly between coverage- and rapid-scanning-related gaps.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: John Y. N. Cho, jync@ll.mit.edu

Abstract

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement of two key radar parameters—fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution—leads to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false-alarm ratio. Previous experimental results showing faster volume scan rates yielding greater warning performance are also incorporated into the model. Enhanced tornado warning performance, in turn, reduces casualty rates. In addition, lower false-alarm ratios save costs by cutting down on work and personal time lost while taking shelter. The model is run on the existing contiguous U.S. weather radar network as well as hypothetical future configurations. Results show that the current radars provide a tornado-based benefit of ~$490 million (M) yr−1. The remaining benefit pool is about $260M yr−1, split roughly evenly between coverage- and rapid-scanning-related gaps.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: John Y. N. Cho, jync@ll.mit.edu
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