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Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Brian Pereira, Paul Robinson, Andrew Frambach, Alycia Gilliland, Trevor White, Josh Aikins, Robert J. Trapp, Stephen Nesbitt, Maiana N. Hanshaw, and Jon Lutz

Abstract

The Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM) Facility is an extensive mobile/quickly-deployable (MQD) multiple-Doppler radar and in-situ instrumentation network.

The FARM includes four radars: two 3-cm dual-polarization, dual-frequency (DPDF), Doppler On Wheels DOW6/DOW7, the Rapid-Scan DOW (RSDOW), and a quickly-deployable (QD) DPDF 5-cm COW C-band On Wheels (COW).

The FARM includes 3 mobile mesonet (MM) vehicles with 3.5-m masts, an array of rugged QD weather stations (PODNET), QD weather stations deployed on infrastructure such as light/power poles (POLENET), four disdrometers, six MQD upper air sounding systems and a Mobile Operations and Repair Center (MORC).

The FARM serves a wide variety of research/educational uses. Components have deployed to >30 projects during 1995-2020 in the USA, Europe, and South America, obtaining pioneering observations of a myriad of small spatial and temporal scale phenomena including tornadoes, hurricanes, lake-effect snow storms, aircraft-affecting turbulence, convection initiation, microbursts, intense precipitation, boundary-layer structures and evolution, airborne hazardous substances, coastal storms, wildfires and wildfire suppression efforts, weather modification effects, and mountain/alpine winds and precipitation. The radars and other FARM systems support innovative educational efforts, deploying >40 times to universities/colleges, providing hands-on access to cutting-edge instrumentation for their students.

The FARM provides integrated multiple radar, mesonet, sounding, and related capabilities enabling diverse and robust coordinated sampling of three-dimensional vector winds, precipitation, and thermodynamics increasingly central to a wide range of mesoscale research.

Planned innovations include S-band On Wheels NETwork (SOWNET) and Bistatic Adaptable Radar Network (BARN), offering more qualitative improvements to the field project observational paradigm, providing broad, flexible, and inexpensive 10-cm radar coverage and vector windfield measurements.

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David P. Jorgensen, Maiana N. Hanshaw, Kevin M. Schmidt, Jayme L. Laber, Dennis M. Staley, Jason W. Kean, and Pedro J. Restrepo

Abstract

A portable truck-mounted C-band Doppler weather radar was deployed to observe rainfall over the Station Fire burn area near Los Angeles, California, during the winter of 2009/10 to assist with debris-flow warning decisions. The deployments were a component of a joint NOAA–U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research effort to improve definition of the rainfall conditions that trigger debris flows from steep topography within recent wildfire burn areas. A procedure was implemented to blend various dual-polarized estimators of precipitation (for radar observations taken below the freezing level) using threshold values for differential reflectivity and specific differential phase shift that improves the accuracy of the rainfall estimates over a specific burn area sited with terrestrial tipping-bucket rain gauges. The portable radar outperformed local Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) National Weather Service network radars in detecting rainfall capable of initiating post-fire runoff-generated debris flows. The network radars underestimated hourly precipitation totals by about 50%. Consistent with intensity–duration threshold curves determined from past debris-flow events in burned areas in Southern California, the portable radar-derived rainfall rates exceeded the empirical thresholds over a wider range of storm durations with a higher spatial resolution than local National Weather Service operational radars. Moreover, the truck-mounted C-band radar dual-polarimetric-derived estimates of rainfall intensity provided a better guide to the expected severity of debris-flow events, based on criteria derived from previous events using rain gauge data, than traditional radar-derived rainfall approaches using reflectivity–rainfall relationships for either the portable or operational network WSR-88D radars. Part of the reason for the improvement was due to siting the radar closer to the burn zone than the WSR-88Ds, but use of the dual-polarimetric variables improved the rainfall estimation by ~12% over the use of traditional ZR relationships.

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Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Brian Pereira, Paul Robinson, Andrew Frambach, Alycia Gilliland, Trevor White, Josh Aikins, Robert J. Trapp, Stephen Nesbitt, Maiana N. Hanshaw, and Jon Lutz

Abstract

The Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM) Facility is an extensive mobile/quickly deployable (MQD) multiple-Doppler radar and in situ instrumentation network. The FARM includes four radars: two 3-cm dual polarization, dual frequency (DPDF), Doppler on Wheels (DOW6/DOW7), the Rapid-Scan DOW (RSDOW), and a quickly deployable (QD) DPDF 5-cm C band on Wheels (COW). The FARM includes three mobile mesonet (MM) vehicles with 3.5-m masts, an array of rugged QD weather stations (PODNET), QD weather stations deployed on infrastructure such as light/power poles (POLENET), four disdrometers, six MQD upper-air sounding systems and a Mobile Operations and Repair Center (MORC). The FARM serves a wide variety of research/educational uses. Components have deployed to >30 projects during 1995–2020 in the United States, Europe, and South America, obtaining pioneering observations of a myriad of small spatial- and temporal-scale phenomena including tornadoes, hurricanes, lake-effect snow storms, aircraft-affecting turbulence, convection initiation, microbursts, intense precipitation, boundary layer structures and evolution, airborne hazardous substances, coastal storms, wildfires and wildfire suppression efforts, weather modification effects, and mountain/alpine winds and precipitation. The radars and other FARM systems support innovative educational efforts, deploying >40 times to universities/colleges, providing hands-on access to cutting-edge instrumentation for their students. The FARM provides integrated multiple radar, mesonet, sounding, and related capabilities enabling diverse and robust coordinated sampling of three-dimensional vector winds, precipitation, and thermodynamics increasingly central to a wide range of mesoscale research. Planned innovations include S-band on Wheels Network (SOWNET) and Bistatic Adaptable Radar Network (BARN), offering more qualitative improvements to the field project observational paradigm, providing broad, flexible, and inexpensive 10-cm radar coverage and vector wind field measurements.

Full access