Next-Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD)


The Next-Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) system is a network of Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) sites supported by the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Air Force.  The network is composed of 159 S-band (10-cm wavelength) Doppler radars (Figure 1) used to remotely sense precipitation intensity, location, motion, and hydrometeor type.  It also provides critical weather data to a number of FAA weather systems such as CIWS, ITWS, and the Weather and Radar Processor (WARP).  NEXRAD radar products will be an important part of a NextGen Weather Processor.  NEXRAD was deployed in the early 1990s.  A service life extension is planned for the mid-2010s and has a projected service life to around 2025.

A NEXRAD site with antenna tower and radome.

Sponsored by the FAA, Lincoln Laboratory develops NEXRAD-based weather data products and processing algorithms that are specifically geared toward aviation needs.  The currently fielded algorithms and products are High Resolution Vertically Integrated Liquid (HRVIL), High Resolution Enhanced Echo Tops (HREET), Data Quality Assurance (DQA), and the Machine Intelligent Gust Front Algorithm (MIGFA).  Examples of the improved capabilities provided by these algorithms are illustrated in Slideshow 1.  The Laboratory continues to support these products and improve their quality.

The NEXRAD network’s newest capability, dual polarization, will enable the discrimination of precipitation types.  The network conversion to the dual polarization capability will be completed in mid-2013.  The FAA sponsors Lincoln Laboratory to develop new, dual polarization based hazard algorithms for icing and hail and to improve data quality.  Examples of the new capabilities of dual polarization based algorithm products are illustrated in Slideshow 2.


top of page