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David J. Bodine, Robert D. Palmer, Takashi Maruyama, Caleb J. Fulton, Ye Zhu, and Boon Leng Cheong

Abstract

To obtain accurate radar-measured wind measurements in tornadoes, differences between air and Doppler velocities must be corrected. These differences can cause large errors in radar estimates of maximum tangential wind speeds, and large errors in single-Doppler retrievals of radial and vertical velocities. Since larger scatterers (e.g., debris) exhibit larger differences from air velocities compared to small scatterers (e.g., raindrops), the dominant scatterer type affecting radar measurements is examined. In this study, radar variables are simulated for common weather radar frequencies using debris and raindrop trajectories computed with a large-eddy simulation model and two electromagnetic scattering models. These simulations include a large range of raindrop and wood board sizes and concentrations, and reveal the significant frequency dependence of the equivalent reflectivity factor and Doppler velocity. At S band, dominant scatterers are wood boards, except when wood board concentrations are very low. In contrast, raindrops are the dominant scatterers at Ka and W bands even when large concentrations of wood boards are present, except for low raindrop concentrations. Dual-wavelength velocity differences exhibit high correlation with air and Doppler velocity differences for most cases, which may enable direct measurements of scatterer-induced Doppler velocity bias in tornadoes. Moreover, dual-wavelength ratios are shown to exhibit strong correlations with dominant scatterer size, except when Rayleigh scatterers are dominant. Finally, vertical velocity retrievals are shown to exhibit lower errors at high frequencies, and large errors remain at centimeter wavelengths even after debris centrifuging corrections are applied in cases with high debris concentration.

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David J. Bodine, Takashi Maruyama, Robert D. Palmer, Caleb J. Fulton, Howard B. Bluestein, and David C. Lewellen

Abstract

Past numerical simulation studies found that debris loading from sand-sized particles may substantially affect tornado dynamics, causing reductions in near-surface wind speeds up to 50%. To further examine debris loading effects, simulations are performed using a large-eddy simulation model with a two-way drag force coupling between air and sand. Simulations encompass a large range of surface debris fluxes that cause negligible to substantial impact on tornado dynamics for a high-swirl tornado vortex simulation.

Simulations are considered for a specific case with a single vortex flow type (swirl ratio, intensity, and translation velocity) and a fixed set of debris and aerodynamic parameters. Thus, it is stressed that these findings apply to the specific flow and debris parameters herein and would likely vary for different flows or debris parameters. For this specific case, initial surface debris fluxes are varied over a factor of 16 384, and debris cloud mass varies by only 42% of this range because a negative feedback reduces near-surface horizontal velocities. Debris loading effects on the axisymmetric mean flow are evident when maximum debris loading exceeds 0.1 kg kg−1, but instantaneous maximum wind speed and TKE exhibit small changes at smaller debris loadings (greater than 0.01 kg kg−1). Initially, wind speeds are reduced in a shallow, near-surface layer, but the magnitude and depth of these changes increases with higher debris loading. At high debris loading, near-surface horizontal wind speeds are reduced by 30%–60% in the lowest 10 m AGL. In moderate and high debris loading scenarios, the number and intensity of subvortices also decrease close to the surface.

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Mark Weber, Kurt Hondl, Nusrat Yussouf, Youngsun Jung, Derek Stratman, Bryan Putnam, Xuguang Wang, Terry Schuur, Charles Kuster, Yixin Wen, Juanzhen Sun, Jeff Keeler, Zhuming Ying, John Cho, James Kurdzo, Sebastian Torres, Chris Curtis, David Schvartzman, Jami Boettcher, Feng Nai, Henry Thomas, Dusan Zrnić, Igor Ivić, Djordje Mirković, Caleb Fulton, Jorge Salazar, Guifu Zhang, Robert Palmer, Mark Yeary, Kevin Cooley, Michael Istok, and Mark Vincent

Abstract

This article summarizes research and risk reduction that will inform acquisition decisions regarding NOAA’s future national operational weather radar network. A key alternative being evaluated is polarimetric phased-array radar (PAR). Research indicates PAR can plausibly achieve fast, adaptive volumetric scanning, with associated benefits for severe-weather warning performance. We assess these benefits using storm observations and analyses, observing system simulation experiments, and real radar-data assimilation studies. Changes in the number and/or locations of radars in the future network could improve coverage at low altitude. Analysis of benefits that might be so realized indicates the possibility for additional improvement in severe-weather and flash-flood warning performance, with associated reduction in casualties. Simulations are used to evaluate techniques for rapid volumetric scanning and assess data quality characteristics of PAR. Finally, we describe progress in developing methods to compensate for polarimetric variable estimate biases introduced by electronic beam-steering. A research-to-operations (R2O) strategy for the PAR alternative for the WSR-88D replacement network is presented.

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