ARMOR Doppler Weather Radar

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ARMOR Doppler Weather Radar
ARMOR Doppler Radar at Huntsville International Airport.jpg
ARMOR Doppler Radar at KHSV in 2021
Country of originUSA
Introduced2002
No. built1
TypeWeather radar (Solid-state)
Frequency5,625 MHz (C Band)
PRF Adjustable 250 to 2,000 Hz
Beamwidth 1.0° nominal - down to 0.5°
PulsewidthAdjustable 0.4 to 4 μs
RPM6 rpm
Altitude206 m (676 ft)
Diameter3.7 m (12 ft)
Azimuth 360°
Power350 kW

ARMOR (Advanced Radar for Meteorological and Operational Research) Doppler weather radar is a C-Band, Dual-Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar, located at the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, Alabama. The radar is a collaborative effort between WHNT-TV and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Live data for the radar is only available to a limited audience, such as UAH employees and NWS meteorologists. All ARMOR data is archived at the National Space Science and Technology Center located on the UAH campus.

Contents

History

This radar was originally a National Weather Service (NWS) local warning radar (WSR-74C) installed in 1977. It was refurbished and upgraded to Pulse-Doppler capabilities in 1991. When the NEXRAD network replaced previous NWS radars, it was donated to the UAH Department of Atmospheric Science in 2002 and upgraded to dual-polarimetry using the SIGMET Antenna Mounted Receiver in the fall 2004. [1]

Baron Radar division of Baron Services, Inc., Huntsville, AL, upgraded the transmitter in 2005 to a 350 kW solid state VHDD-350C transmitter. In the fall of 2006, a high performance Seavey dual-polarization antenna and Orbit pedestal were purchased for ARMOR by the same company and made fully functional by the end of October. [2]

ARMOR is the first dual polarimetric radar used in broadcast television news, and one of the first systems of its type open for educational use to a public university, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). [3]

Description

ARMOR is a modified WSR-74 C-Band (5625 MHz) radar with a 0.5 - 1.0° resolution in azimuth and a spatial resolution varying from 60 to 500 meters, with a typical resolution of 150m. ARMOR sits 206 meters above sea level. The pulse length can vary from 0.4 to 4 microseconds and its peak power is 350 kW. ARMOR's antenna is 3.7 m, or 12 feet, in diameter, and its typical PRF ranges from 250 to 2000 Hz. At its maximum, its rotation rate is 36 degrees/second. It transmits and receives vertical and horizontal polarized signals and operates with a SIGMET RVP8 signal processor. ARMOR is capable of area-specific sector scans, and unlike the NEXRAD Network, can be manually operated. [2]

Usages

The following is information about the radar and its advanced systems:

Users

In a unique partnership, this research radar is used by meteorologists at WHNT-TV for forecasting and on air severe weather coverage. ARMOR was the first dual polarimetric capable radar installed by a television station. The data received from the radar is continuously archived at the National Space Science and Technology Center at UAH for full volumetric and surveillance scans.

ARMOR also deploys a live feed to the Huntsville National Weather Service Office making it one of the first NWS offices to gain first hand experience with dual-pole radar. Currently, as of 2017, the entirety of the National NEXRAD network operates with dual-polarimetric capabilities.

Related Research Articles

NEXRAD Nationwide network of Doppler weather radars operated by the U.S. National Weather Service

NEXRAD or Nexrad is a network of 160 high-resolution S-band Doppler weather radars operated by the National Weather Service (NWS), an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the United States Department of Commerce, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Air Force within the Department of Defense. Its technical name is WSR-88D.

WSR-74

WSR-74 radars were Weather Surveillance Radars designed in 1974 for the National Weather Service. They were added to the existing network of the WSR-57 model to improve forecasts and severe weather warnings. Some have been sold to other countries like Australia, Greece, and Pakistan.

Weather radar

Weather radar, also called weather surveillance radar (WSR) and Doppler weather radar, is a type of radar used to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, and estimate its type. Modern weather radars are mostly pulse-Doppler radars, capable of detecting the motion of rain droplets in addition to the intensity of the precipitation. Both types of data can be analyzed to determine the structure of storms and their potential to cause severe weather.

Hook echo Weather radar signature indicating tornadic circulation in a supercell thunderstorm

A hook echo is a pendant or hook-shaped weather radar signature as part of some supercell thunderstorms. It is found in the lower portions of a storm as air and precipitation flow into a mesocyclone, resulting in a curved feature of reflectivity. The echo is produced by rain, hail, or even debris being wrapped around the supercell. It is one of the classic hallmarks of tornado-producing supercells. The National Weather Service may consider the presence of a hook echo coinciding with a tornado vortex signature as sufficient to justify issuing a tornado warning.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather research laboratory under the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).

Bounded weak echo region Weather feature

The bounded weak echo region, also known as a BWER or a vault, is a radar signature within a thunderstorm characterized by a local minimum in radar reflectivity at low levels which extends upward into, and is surrounded by, higher reflectivities aloft. This feature is associated with a strong updraft and is almost always found in the inflow region of a thunderstorm. It cannot be seen visually. The BWER has been noted on radar imagery of severe thunderstorms since 1973 and has a lightning detection system equivalent known as a lightning hole.

Aggie Doppler Radar

The Aggie Doppler Radar (ADRAD) is a Doppler weather radar located on the roof of the Eller Oceanography & Meteorology Building on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas.

Canadian weather radar network

The Canadian weather radar network consists of 31 weather radars spanning Canada's most populated regions. Their primary purpose is the early detection of precipitation, its motion and the threat it poses to life and property.

The Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) was established at the University of Oklahoma in 1989 as one of the first eleven National Science Foundation Science and Technology Centers. Located at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, its mission is the development of techniques for the computer-based prediction of high-impact local weather, such as individual spring and winter storms, with the NEXRAD (WSR-88D) Doppler weather radar serving as a key data source.

Volumetric Imaging and Processing of Integrated Radar, known by the acronym VIPIR, is an analysis and display program for Doppler weather radar, created and sold by Baron Services. This software allows improved analysis of radar data for private users, in particular television stations, similar to the Weather Decision Support System program used by the National Weather Service.

Convective storm detection is the meteorological observation, and short-term prediction, of deep moist convection (DMC). DMC describes atmospheric conditions producing single or clusters of large vertical extension clouds ranging from cumulus congestus to cumulonimbus, the latter producing thunderstorms associated with lightning and thunder. Those two types of clouds can produce severe weather at the surface and aloft.

GRLevelX

GRLevelX is a suite of data processing and display programs developed by Gibson Ridge Software, LLC (GRS), to view weather radar data. It went on the market in March 2005. It comes in three versions, all of which ingest raw data: GRLevel2 and GRLevel2 Analyst Edition for viewing Level II data of the National Weather Service (NWS), and GRLevel3 for viewing Level III data. All programs are capable of rendering dual polarization data.

OU-PRIME

OU-PRIME was an advanced Doppler weather radar. It was completed in January 2009 after a ten-month construction period and commissioned on April 4, 2009. It is operated by the Advanced Radar Research Center (ARRC) at the University of Oklahoma (OU). The radar was manufactured by Enterprise Electronics Corporation to provide OU students and faculty a platform for research and education in the field of radar meteorology. This C-band polarimetric radar has some of the highest resolution data of any C-band weather radar in the United States.

Terminal Doppler Weather Radar

Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) is a Doppler weather radar system with a three-dimensional "pencil beam" used primarily for the detection of hazardous wind shear conditions, precipitation, and winds aloft on and near major airports situated in climates with great exposure to thunderstorms in the United States. As of 2011, all were in-service with 45 operational radars, some covering multiple airports in major metropolitan locations, across the United States & Puerto Rico. Several similar weather radars have also been sold to other countries such as China. Funded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), TDWR technology was developed in the early 1990s at Lincoln Laboratory, part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to assist air traffic controllers by providing real-time wind shear detection and high-resolution precipitation data.

National Weather Service Lincoln, Illinois

National Weather Service Lincoln, Illinois also known as National Weather Service Central Illinois is a weather forecast office responsible for monitoring weather conditions for 35 counties in Central and Southeastern Illinois. The Central Illinois office initially consisted of two forecast offices in Peoria and Springfield until the current location in Lincoln became the sole local forecast office in 1995. Federal meteorology offices and stations in the region date back to the 19th century when the Army Signal Service began taking weather observations using weather equipment at the Springer Building in Springfield. Since that time the presence of the National Weather Service greatly increased with the installation of new weather radars, stations and forecast offices. The current office in Lincoln maintains a WSR-88D (NEXRAD) radar system, and Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) that greatly improve forecasting in the region. Lincoln is in charge of weather forecasts, warnings and local statements as well as aviation weather.

Baron Services is a weather technology company based in Huntsville, Alabama, United States. The company develops weather systems that aid in the detection and dissemination of weather information to customers in the broadcast, government, aviation, marine and automotive industries. These technologies include weather tracking software, Doppler weather radar, systems integration, and personal alerting services, among others. The company holds numerous U.S. patents for weather technology.

MESO-SAILS

Multiple Elevation Scan Option for Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low-Level Scan, is a dynamic scanning option for the WSR-88D, controllable by the operator of the radar, when in VCP mode 12 and 212, and additionally 35 and 215 with the Build 18 update scheduled for October 2017. When active, anywhere from one to three supplemental low-level scans can be added to any volume, increasing overall low-level data availability and improves general severe weather detection, as needed. When active, per the National Weather Service, low-level updates will be available "every 75 to 90 seconds".

Multifunction Phased Array Radar

Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) was an experimental Doppler radar system that utilized phased array technology. MPAR could scan at angles as high as 60 degrees in elevation, and simultaneously track meteorological phenomena, biological flyers, non-cooperative aircraft, and air traffic. From 2003 through 2016, there was one operational MPAR within the mainland United States—a repurposed AN/SPY-1A radar set loaned to NOAA by the U.S. Navy. The MPAR was decommissioned and removed in 2016.

SMART-R

The Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar, colloquially known as SMART-R or SR, is a mobile Doppler weather radar platform operated and created by University of Oklahoma (OU) with aide from Texas A&M and Texas Tech University in 2001.

Joint Polarization Experiment

The Joint Polarization Experiment (JPOLE) was a test for evaluating the performance of the WSR-88D in order to modify it to include dual polarization. This program was a joint project of the National Weather Service (NWS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the US Air Force Meteorological Agency (AFWA), which took place from 2000-2004. It has resulted in the upgrading of the entire meteorological radar network in the United States by adding dual polarization to better determine the type of hydrometeor, and quantities that have fallen.

References

  1. "ARMOR". University of Alabama in Huntsville. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  2. 1 2 "ARMOR Radar Specifications". University of Alabama in Huntsville. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  3. "Baron". Baron Services. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2011-03-21.

Coordinates: 34°38′46″N86°46′17″W / 34.64614489741253°N 86.77152707059255°W / 34.64614489741253; -86.77152707059255