Status of the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar with deployment underway
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) program in the mid-1980's in response to the need for improved real-time hazardous weather (especially low-altitude wind shear) surveillance in the terminal area (Turnbull, et al., 1989). The initial focus for the TDWR was to provide reliable, fully automated Doppler radar detection of microbursts and gust fronts and 20-minute warning of wind shifts which could effect runway usage. Subsequent operational demonstrations have shown that the overall terminal situational awareness provided by the TDWR color Geographical Situation Display (GSD) depiction of wind shear locations, weather reflectivity and storm motion also yields substantial improvements in terminal operations efficiency for air traffic managers and for airlines. In this paper, we will describe the current status and deployment strategy for the operational systems and recent results from the extensive testing of the radar system concept and of the weather information dissemination approach.