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Monetized weather radar network benefits for tornado cost reduction

Author:
Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report NOAA-35

Summary

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement in two key radar coverage parameters--fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution--lead to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false alarm ratio. Previous experimental results showing faster volume scan rates yielding greater warning performance, including increased lead times, are also incorporated into the model. Enhanced tornado warning performance, in turn, reduces casualty rates. In combination, then, it is clearly established that better and faster radar observations reduce tornado casualty rates. Furthermore, lower false alarm ratios save costs by cutting down on people's time lost when taking shelter.
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Summary

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement in two key radar coverage parameters--fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution--lead to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false alarm ratio. Previous experimental...

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Weather radar network benefit model for tornadoes

Author:
Published in:
J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 22 April 2019, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-18-0205.1.

Summary

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement of two key radar parameters--fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution--lead to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false alarm ratio. Previous experimental results showing faster volume scan rates yielding greater warning performance are also incorporated into the model. Enhanced tornado warning performance, in turn, reduces casualty rates. In addition, lower false alarm ratios save cost by cutting down on work and personal time lost while taking shelter. The model is run on the existing contiguous United States weather radar network as well as hypothetical future configurations. Results show that the current radars provide a tornado-based benefit of ~$490M per year. The remaining benefit pool is about $260M per year that is roughly split evenly between coverage- and rapid-scanning-related gaps.
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Summary

A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement of two key radar parameters--fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution--lead to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false alarm ratio. Previous experimental results...

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Polarimetric observations of chaff using the WSR-88D network

Published in:
J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., Vol. 57, No. 5, 1 May 2018, pp. 1063-1081.

Summary

Chaff is a radar countermeasure typically used by military branches in training exercises around the United States. Chaff within view of the S-band WSR-88D radars can appear prominently on radar users displays. Knowledge of chaff characteristics is useful for radar users to discriminate between chaff and weather echoes and for automated algorithms to do the same. The WSR-88D network provides dual-polarimetric capabilities across the United States, leading to the collection of a large database of chaff cases. The database is analyzed to determine the characteristics of chaff in terms of the reflectivity factor and polarimetric variables on large scales. Particular focus is given to the dynamics of differential reflectivity (ZDR) in chaff and its dependence on height. Contrary to radar data observations of chaff for a single event, this study is able to reveal a repeatable and new pattern of radar chaff observations. A discussion regarding the observed characteristics is presented, and hypotheses for the observed ZDR dynamics are put forth.
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Summary

Chaff is a radar countermeasure typically used by military branches in training exercises around the United States. Chaff within view of the S-band WSR-88D radars can appear prominently on radar users displays. Knowledge of chaff characteristics is useful for radar users to discriminate between chaff and weather echoes and for...

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Quantification of radar QPE performance based on SENSR network design possibilities

Published in:
2018 IEEE Radar Conf., RadarConf, 23-27 April 2018.

Summary

In 2016, the FAA, NOAA, DoD, and DHS initiated a feasibility study for a Spectrum Efficient National Surveillance Radar (SENSR). The goal is to assess approaches for vacating the 1.3- to 1.35-GHz radio frequency band currently allocated to FAA/DoD long-range radars so that this band can be auctioned for commercial use. As part of this goal, the participating agencies have developed preliminary performance requirements that not only assume minimum capabilities based on legacy radars, but also recognize the need for enhancements in future radar networks. The relatively low density of the legacy radar networks, especially the WSR-88D network, had led to the goal of enhancing low-altitude weather coverage. With multiple design metrics and network possibilities still available to the SENSR agencies, the benefits of low-altitude coverage must be assessed quantitatively. This study lays the groundwork for estimating Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE) differences based on network density, array size, and polarimetric bias. These factors create a pareto front of cost-benefit for QPE in a new radar network, and these results will eventually be used to determine appropriate tradeoffs for SENSR requirements. Results of this study are presented in the form of two case examples that quantify errors based on polarimetric bias and elevation, along with a description of eventual application to a national network in upcoming expansion of the work.
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Summary

In 2016, the FAA, NOAA, DoD, and DHS initiated a feasibility study for a Spectrum Efficient National Surveillance Radar (SENSR). The goal is to assess approaches for vacating the 1.3- to 1.35-GHz radio frequency band currently allocated to FAA/DoD long-range radars so that this band can be auctioned for commercial...

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Development of a new inanimate class for the WSR-88D hydrometeor classification algorithm

Published in:
38th Conf. on Radar Meteorology, 27 August-1 September 2017.

Summary

The current implementation of the Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm (HCA) on the WSR-88D network contains two non-hydrometeor-based classes: ground clutter/anomalous propagation and biologicals. A number of commonly observed non-hydrometeor-based phenomena do not fall into either of these two HCA categories, but often are misclassified as ground clutter, biologicals, unknown, or worse yet, weather hydrometeors. Some of these phenomena include chaff, sea clutter, combustion debris and smoke, and radio frequency interference. In order to address this discrepancy, a new class (nominally named "inanimate") is being developed that encompasses many of these targets. Using this class, a distinction between non-biological and biological non-hydrometeor targets can be made and potentially separated into sub-classes for more direct identification. A discussion regarding the fuzzy logic membership functions, optimization of membership weights, and class restrictions is presented, with a focus on observations of highly stochastic differential phase estimates in all of the aforementioned targets. Recent attempts to separate the results into sub-classes using a support vector machine are presented, and examples of each target type are detailed. Details concerning eventual implementation into the WSR-88D radar product generator are addressed.
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Summary

The current implementation of the Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm (HCA) on the WSR-88D network contains two non-hydrometeor-based classes: ground clutter/anomalous propagation and biologicals. A number of commonly observed non-hydrometeor-based phenomena do not fall into either of these two HCA categories, but often are misclassified as ground clutter, biologicals, unknown, or worse...

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WSR-88D chaff detection and characterization using an optimized hydrometeor classification algorithm

Published in:
18th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 23-26 January 2017.

Summary

Chaff presents multiple issues for aviation, air traffic controllers, and the FAA, including false weather identification and areas where flight paths may need to be altered. Chaff is a radar countermeasure commonly released from aircraft across the United States and is comprised of individual metallic strands designed to reflect certain wavelengths. Chaff returns tend to look similar to weather echoes in the reflectivity factor and radial velocity fields, and can appear as clutter, stratiform precipitation, or deep convection to the radar operator or radar algorithms. When polarimetric fields are taken into account, however, discrimination between weather and non-weather echoes has relatively high potential for success. In this work, the operational Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm (HCA) on the WSR-88D is modified to include a chaff class that can be used as input to a Chaff Detection Algorithm (CDA). This new class is designed using human-truthed chaff datasets for the collection and quantification of variable distributions, and the collected chaff cases are leveraged in the tuning of algorithm weights through the use of a metaheuristic optimization. A final CDA uses various image processing techniques to deliver a filtered output. A discussion regarding WSR-88D observations of chaff on a broad scale is provided, with particular attention given to observations of negative differential reflectivity during different stages of chaff fallout. Numerous cases are presented for analysis and characterization, both as an HCA class and as output from the filtered CDA.
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Summary

Chaff presents multiple issues for aviation, air traffic controllers, and the FAA, including false weather identification and areas where flight paths may need to be altered. Chaff is a radar countermeasure commonly released from aircraft across the United States and is comprised of individual metallic strands designed to reflect certain...

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Velocity estimation improvements for the ASR-9 Weather Systems Processor

Published in:
American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, 2-6 February 2014.

Summary

The Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9) is a rapid-scanning terminal aircraft detection system deployed at airports around the United States. To provide cost-effective wind shear detection capability at medium-density airports, the Weather Systems Processor (WSP) was developed and added on to the ASR-9 at 35 sites. The WSP on the ASR-9 is capable of utilizing dual fan-beam estimates of reflectivity and velocity in order to detect low-level features such as gust fronts, wind shear, and microbursts, which would normally be best detectable by a low-scanning pencil beam radar. An upgrade to the ASR-9 WSP, which is currently ongoing, allows for additional computational complexity in the front-end digital signal processing algorithms compared to previous iterations of the system. This paper will explore ideas for improving velocity estimates, including low-level dual beam weight estimation, de-aliasing, and noise reduction. A discussion of the unique challenges afforded by the ASR-9's block-stagger pulse repetition time is presented, along with thoughts on how to overcome limitations which arise from rapid-scanning and the inherent lack of pulses available for coherent averaging.
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Summary

The Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9) is a rapid-scanning terminal aircraft detection system deployed at airports around the United States. To provide cost-effective wind shear detection capability at medium-density airports, the Weather Systems Processor (WSP) was developed and added on to the ASR-9 at 35 sites. The WSP on the ASR-9...

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