Measurement of hazardous winter storm phenomena at the Portland OR International Airport
Wind shear and lightning are classically associated with summertime convective weather events at airports east of Reno, NV. However, a recent study concluded that severe wind shear and lightning strike events occasionally occur during winter storms at west coast airports. One of the most surprising findings was that the Portland Oregon International Airport (PDX) has operationally significant vertical wind shear and a surprisingly high number of lightning strikes to aircraft within the terminal area during winter storms. The FAA has for a number of years planned to install an ASR-9 Weather System Processor (WSP) at PDX to provide protection against wind shear from microbursts and gust fronts. However, in view of the findings of the west coast weather study (conducted after the FAA's wind shear deployment study was completed, a research program was undertaken to: Better understand the phenomenology associated with the Portland winter storms; Determine whether the baseline ASR-9 Weather System Processor planned for PDX would adequately address operationally significant wind shear and other safety-related weather phenomena; and Identify alternative sensing/data fusion approaches to providing PDX terminal weather decision support if the WSP alone could not adequately provide safety warnings.