TITAN: Thunderstorm Identification, Tracking, Analysis, and Nowcasting—A Radar-based Methodology

Michael Dixon Research Applications Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Gerry Wiener Research Applications Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

A methodology is presented for the real-time automated identification, tracking, and short-term forecasting of thunderstorms based on volume-scan weather radar data. The emphasis is on the concepts upon which the methodology is based. A “storm” is defined as a contiguous region exceeding thresholds for reflectivity and size. Storms defined in this way are identified at discrete time intervals. An optimization scheme is employed to match the storms at one time with those at the following time, with some geometric logic to deal with mergers and splits. The short-term forecast of both position and size is based on a weighted linear fit to the storm track history data. The performance of the detection and forecast were evaluated for the summer 1991 season, and the results are presented.

Abstract

A methodology is presented for the real-time automated identification, tracking, and short-term forecasting of thunderstorms based on volume-scan weather radar data. The emphasis is on the concepts upon which the methodology is based. A “storm” is defined as a contiguous region exceeding thresholds for reflectivity and size. Storms defined in this way are identified at discrete time intervals. An optimization scheme is employed to match the storms at one time with those at the following time, with some geometric logic to deal with mergers and splits. The short-term forecast of both position and size is based on a weighted linear fit to the storm track history data. The performance of the detection and forecast were evaluated for the summer 1991 season, and the results are presented.

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