June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.89.1 - 13.89.18
Introduction Severe and hazardous weather such as thunderstorms, downbursts, and tornadoes can take lives in a matter of minutes. In order to improve detection and forecast of such phe- nomena using radar, one of the key factors is fast scan capability. Conventional weather radars, such as the ubiquitous NEXRAD (Next Generation Radar developed in the 1980’s), are severely limited by mechanical scanning. Approximately 175 of these radars are in a national network to provide the bulk of our weather information. Under the development for weather applications, the electronically steerable beams provided by the phased array radar at the NWRT can overcome these limitations of the current NEXRAD radar. For this reason, the phased array radar was listed by the National Research Council as one of the primary candidate technologies to supersede the NEXRAD . By deﬁnition, a phased array radar is one that relies on a two-dimensional array of small antennas. Each antenna has the ability to change its phase characteristics, thus allowing the overall system to collectively locate speciﬁc interesting regions of weather. The NWRT is the nation’s ﬁrst facility dedicated to phased array radar meteorology. In addition, the demand for students trained in this area will be high as new radar technologies replace the ones designed 20 years ago, and as weather radar usage extends into areas such as homeland security. From the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) perspective, the phased array radar technology developed at the NWRT will be used to enhance the safety and capacity of the National Airspace System. Moreover, this proposal is consistent with one of NOAA’s Mission Goals for the 21st Century: to serve society’s needs for weather information .
In order for students and researchers to study the characteristics of the NEXTRAD and the NWRT, resources are available on campus for experiments. In addition to these radars, other radars are available for a wide variety of atmospheric investigations. Five radars are discussed here, as depicted in Figure 1. To begin, students have an unprecedented oppor- tunity to take advantage of a unique federal, private, state and academic partnership that has been formed for the development of the phased array radar technology at the NWRT, as depicted by panel 1 in Figure 1. Eight participants contributed to the installation of the new radar, including: NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and National Weather Service Radar Operations Center, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Navy, Federal Aviation Admin- istration, and BCI, Inc.
Panel 2 in Figure 1 depicts a mobile radar known as the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar or SMART-R . This research and educational portable enterprise is a coalition of scientists from the University of Oklahoma (OU), National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), Texas A&M University (TAMU), and Texas Tech University (TTU) who embarked on a project to build and deploy two mobile C-band Doppler weather radars for storm-scale research and to enhance graduate and undergraduate education in radar meteorology. This project culminated in the successful development and deployment of the ﬁrst mobile C-band Doppler weather radar, radars capable of accurately measuring both clear-air circulations and damaging winds in heavy rain.
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