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Echo Height Measurements with the WSR-88D: Use of Data from One Versus Two Radars

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  • 1 NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The new Doppler radars of the National Weather Service (i.e., the WSR-88D radars) are operated continuously in a volume scanning mode (called Volume Coverage Pattern, VCP) with the elevation tilt angles fixed for several VCPs. Because of the fixed VCPs, the radar data can be used to determine the heights of precipitation echo features only to limits of accuracy that depend upon the elevation angles used in the VCP, the radar beamwidth, and the range of echoes. Data from adjacent WSR-88D radars, if used simultaneously, could reduce significantly the height uncertainties inherent in single radar measurements. This is illustrated for idealized situations and also for an event involving a long-lived, tornadic thunderstorm. The use of coordinated scan strategies and combined data analysis procedures for adjacent WSR-88D radars during significant thunderstorm events should be considered for operational applications.

* Additional affiliation: University of Oklahoma and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, Oklahoma.

Visiting Scientist, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Tucson, Arizona.

Corresponding author address: Dr. R. A. Maddox, ℅ NWS Office, 520 N. Park Ave., Suite 304, Tucson, AZ 85719-5035.

Email: rmaddox@azstarnet.com

Abstract

The new Doppler radars of the National Weather Service (i.e., the WSR-88D radars) are operated continuously in a volume scanning mode (called Volume Coverage Pattern, VCP) with the elevation tilt angles fixed for several VCPs. Because of the fixed VCPs, the radar data can be used to determine the heights of precipitation echo features only to limits of accuracy that depend upon the elevation angles used in the VCP, the radar beamwidth, and the range of echoes. Data from adjacent WSR-88D radars, if used simultaneously, could reduce significantly the height uncertainties inherent in single radar measurements. This is illustrated for idealized situations and also for an event involving a long-lived, tornadic thunderstorm. The use of coordinated scan strategies and combined data analysis procedures for adjacent WSR-88D radars during significant thunderstorm events should be considered for operational applications.

* Additional affiliation: University of Oklahoma and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, Oklahoma.

Visiting Scientist, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Tucson, Arizona.

Corresponding author address: Dr. R. A. Maddox, ℅ NWS Office, 520 N. Park Ave., Suite 304, Tucson, AZ 85719-5035.

Email: rmaddox@azstarnet.com

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