An improved gust front detection algorithm for the TDWR
Gust fronts are associated with potentially hazardous wind shears and cause sustained wind shifts after passage. Terminal Air Traffic Control (ATC) is concerned about the safety hazard associated with shear regions and prediction of the wind shift for runway reconfiguration. The Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) system has a gust front detection algorithm which has provided an operationally useful capability for both safety and planning. However, this algorithm's performance is sensitive to the orientation of the gust front with respect to the radar radial. Due to this sensitivity, the algorithm is unable to detect about 50% of gust fronts that cross the airport. This paper describes a new algorithm which provides improved performance by using additional radar signatures of gust fronts. The performance of the current TDWR gust front algorithm for the various operational demonstrations has been documented in Klingle-Wilson et al. (1989) and Evans (1990). These analyses highlighted deficiencies in the current algorithm, which is designed to detect radial convergent shears only. When gust fronts or portions of gust fronts become aligned nearly parallel to a radial, the radial component of the shear is not as readily evident. In addition, gust fronts that are near or over the radar exhibit little radial convergence along their lengths and ground clutter can obscure the gust front near the radar. Thus, special handling is needed for fronts that approach the radar. Figure 1 illustrates the various components of a gust front as viewed by Doppler radar. The portion of the gust front in the figure labelled radial convergence is detectable with the current algorithm. Fronts, or portions of fronts, that are aligned along the radar radial and those that pass over the radar are examples of events which can exhibit little or no radial shear signature. These events are often detectable by variations in the radial velocities from azimuth to azimuth (i.e., azimuthal shear)., and/or by radar reflectivity thins lines. The new algorithm improves the detection and prediction of gust fronts by merging radial convergence features with azimuthal shear features, thin line features, and the predicted locations of gust fronts which are passing over the radar. The next four sections of this paper describe the individual components of the improved algorithm. Section 6 describes the rule base used to combine detections from the four components into single gust front detections and Section 7 discusses the output of the algorithm.