The upgrade was completed on Sunday, May 6th, with our traditional suite of data once again available here.
Building a Weather-Ready Nation
This much anticipated upgrade is part of the NWS vision to build a Weather-Ready Nation to better protect lives and livelihoods. This exciting upgrade incorporates a new technology called dual-polarization, or dual-pol. This new technology gives us 14 new radar products that will enable us to continue providing our suite of high quality products and services to the public. This new technology and data will primarily help forecasters identify the type of precipitation that is falling as well as improve rainfall estimates.
Why Upgrade to Dula-Pol?
Current NWS Doppler radars transmit and receive pulses of radio waves in a horizontal orientation. As a result, the radar only measures the horizontal dimensions of targets (e.g. cloud and precipitation droplets). Dual-polarimetric radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. Therefore, the radar measures both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets. Since the radar receives energy from horizontal and vertical pulses, we can obtain better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets. It is expected that this will result in significant improvements in the estimation of precipitation rates, the ability to discriminate between precipitation types (e.g. hail vs. rain), and the identification of non-meteorological returns, such as chaff, ground clutter, and smoke plumes from wildfires that are not uncommonly detected by weather radar systems such as WSR-88D.
The Benefits of Dual-Pol
The full benefit of dual-pol radar, however, will not be fully realized until NWS forecasters and research meteorologists develop real-time expertise.
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