Weather Radar Coverage over the Contiguous United States

Robert A. Maddox NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories and National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Robert A. Maddox in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Jian Zhang NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories and National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Jian Zhang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Jonathan J. Gourley NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories and National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Jonathan J. Gourley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Kenneth W. Howard NOAA/Environmental Research Laboratories and National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Search for other papers by Kenneth W. Howard in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Terrain and radar beam-elevation data are used to examine the spatial coverage provided by the national operational network of Doppler weather radars. This information is of importance to a wide variety of users, and potential users, of radar data from the national network. Charts generated for radar coverage at 3 and 5 km above mean sea level show that radar surveillance near 700 and 500 hPa is very limited for some portions of the contiguous United States. Radar coverage charts at heights of 1, 2, and 3 km above ground level illustrate the extent of low-level radar data gathered above the actual land surface. These maps indicate how restricted the national radar network coverage is at low levels, which limits the usefulness of the radar data, especially for quantitative precipitation estimation. The analyses also identify several regions of the contiguous United States in which weather phenomena are sampled by many adjacent radars. Thus, these regions are characterized by very comprehensive radar information that could be used in many kinds of research studies.

Visiting scientist, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Tucson, Arizona

Additional affiliation: Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorology, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Corresponding author address: Robert A. Maddox, c/o NWS Forecast Office, 520 N. Park Ave., Suite 304, Tucson, AZ 85719. Email: robert.maddox@nssl.noaa.gov

Abstract

Terrain and radar beam-elevation data are used to examine the spatial coverage provided by the national operational network of Doppler weather radars. This information is of importance to a wide variety of users, and potential users, of radar data from the national network. Charts generated for radar coverage at 3 and 5 km above mean sea level show that radar surveillance near 700 and 500 hPa is very limited for some portions of the contiguous United States. Radar coverage charts at heights of 1, 2, and 3 km above ground level illustrate the extent of low-level radar data gathered above the actual land surface. These maps indicate how restricted the national radar network coverage is at low levels, which limits the usefulness of the radar data, especially for quantitative precipitation estimation. The analyses also identify several regions of the contiguous United States in which weather phenomena are sampled by many adjacent radars. Thus, these regions are characterized by very comprehensive radar information that could be used in many kinds of research studies.

Visiting scientist, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Tucson, Arizona

Additional affiliation: Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorology, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Corresponding author address: Robert A. Maddox, c/o NWS Forecast Office, 520 N. Park Ave., Suite 304, Tucson, AZ 85719. Email: robert.maddox@nssl.noaa.gov

Save
  • Crum, T. D., and Alberty R. L. , 1993: The WSR-88D and the WSR-88D Operational Support Facility. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 74 , 16691687.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doviak, R. J., and Zrnić D. S. , 1984: Doppler Radar and Weather Observations. Academic Press, 593 pp.

  • Dunn, L. B., and Vasiloff S. V. , 2001: Tornadogenesis and operational considerations of the 11 August 1999 Salt Lake City tornado as seen from two different Doppler radars. Wea. Forecasting, 16 , 377398.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Elmore, K. L., and McCarthy J. , 1992: A statistical characterization of Denver-area microbursts. Dept. of Transportation Rep. DOT/FAA/NR-92-13, 50 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fujita, T. T., 1985: The downburst. SMRP Res. Paper 210, The University of Chicago, 122 pp. [NTIS PB-148880.].

  • Fulton, R. A., Breidenbach J. P. , Seo D. J. , Miller D. A. , and O'Bannon T. , 1998: The WSR-88D rainfall algorithm. Wea. Forecasting, 13 , 377395.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gourley, J. J., Maddox R. A. , Howard K. W. , and Burgess D. , 2002: An exploratory multisensor technique for quantitative estimation of stratiform rainfall. J. Hydrometeor., 3 , 166180.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Howard, K. W., Gourley J. J. , and Maddox R. A. , 1997: Uncertainties in WSR-88D measurements and their impacts on monitoring life cycles. Wea. Forecasting, 12 , 166174.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klazura, G. E., and Imy D. A. , 1993: A description of the initial set of analysis products available from the NEXRAD WSR-88D system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 74 , 12931311.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NOAA, 1991: Doppler radar meteorological observations. Part C: WSR-88D products and algorithms. Federal Meteorological Handbook, FCH-H11C-1991, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, Rockville, MD, 210 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NRC, 1995: Assessment of NEXRAD Coverage and Associated Weather Services. National Academy Press, 104 pp.

  • O'Bannon, T., 1997: Using a terrain-based hybrid scan to improve WSR-88D precipitation estimates. Preprints, 28th Conf. on Radar Meteorology, Austin, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 506–507.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reynolds, D. W., 1995: The warm rain process and WSR-88D. Western Region Technical Attachment 95-08, 17 pp. [Available form NWS Western Region Headquarters, Federal Bldg., Salt Lake City, UT 84138.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Serafin, R. J., and Wilson J. W. , 2000: Operational weather radar in the United States: Progress and opportunity. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81 , 501518.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Westrick, K. J., Mass C. F. , and Colle B. A. , 1999: The limitations of the WSR-88D radar network for quantitative precipitation measurement over the coastal western United States. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80 , 22892298.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1749 684 47
PDF Downloads 1016 293 18