Towards the Next Generation Operational Meteorological Radar

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072
  • 2 National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Norman, OK 73072
  • 3 School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072
  • 4 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
  • 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02421
  • 6 Advanced Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072
  • 7 National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Springs, MD 20910
  • 8 Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, NOAA, Silver Springs, MD 20910
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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.

Corresponding Author: Mark Weber, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma and National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Norman, OK 73072

Current Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02421. Email: Mark.Weber@ll.mit.edu

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.

Corresponding Author: Mark Weber, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma and National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Norman, OK 73072

Current Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02421. Email: Mark.Weber@ll.mit.edu

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