Advancements in radar technology since the deployment of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) network have prompted consideration of radar replacement technologies. In order for the outcomes of advanced radar research and development to be the most beneficial to users, an understanding of user needs must be established early in the process and considered throughout. As an important early step in addressing this need, this study explored the strengths and limitations of current radar systems for nine participants from two key stakeholder groups: NOAA's NWS and broadcast meteorologists. Critical incident interviews revealed the role of each stakeholder group and attained stories that exemplified radar strengths and limitations in their respective roles.
NWS forecasters emphasized using radar as an essential tool to assess the current weather situation and communicate hazards to key stakeholder groups. TV broadcasters emphasized adding meaning and value to NWS information and using radar to effectively communicate weather information to viewers. The stories told by our participants vividly illustrated the advancing nature of weather detection with radar, and why there are still issues with weather radar and radar-derived information. Analysis of the stories, which ranged from accounts of severe weather to winter weather, revealed four underlying radar needs: 1) clean, accurate data without intervention, 2) higher spatial-and temporal-resolution data than that provided by the WSR-88D, 3) consistent and low-altitude information, and 4) more accurate information on precipitation type, size, intensity, and distribution.
University of Oklahoma's Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, Norman, Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma's Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, Oklahoma
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
*CURRENT AFFILIATION: NOAA/OAR National Severe Storms Laboratory
+CURRENT AFFILIATION: University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology