This study examined lightning activity relative to the rapidly evolving kinematics of a hail-producing storm on 15 August 2006. Data were provided by the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased-Array Radar, the Oklahoma Lightning Mapping Array, and the National Lightning Detection Network.This analysis is the first to compare the electrical characteristics of a hail-producing storm with the reflectivity and radial velocity structure at temporal resolutions of less than 1 min. Total flash rates increased to approximately 220 min 21 as the storm's updraft first intensified, leveled off during its first mature stage, and then decreased for 2-3 min despite the simultaneous development of another updraft surge. This reduction in flash rate occurred as wet hail formed in the new updraft and was likely related to the wet growth; wet growth is not conducive to hydrometeor charging and probably contributed to the formation of a ''lightning hole'' without a mesocyclone. Total flash rates subsequently increased to approximately 450 min 21 as storm volume and inferred graupel volume increased, and then decreased as the storm dissipated.The vertical charge structure in the storm initially formed a positive tripole (midlevel negative charge between upper and lower positive charges). The charge structure in the second updraft surge consisted of a negative charge above a deep midlevel positive charge, a reversal consistent with the effects of large liquid water contents on hydrometeor charge polarity in laboratory experiments.Prior to the second updraft surge, the storm produced two cloud-to-ground flashes, both lowering the usual negative charge to ground. Shortly before hail likely reached ground, the storm produced four cloud-toground flashes, all lowering the positive charge. Episodes of high singlet VHF sources were observed at approximately 13-15 km during the initial formation and later intensification of the storm's updraft.
An object-based verification methodology for the NSSL Experimental Warn-on-Forecast System for ensembles (NEWS-e) has been developed and applied to 32 cases between December 2015 and June 2017. NEWS-e forecast objects of composite reflectivity and 30-min updraft helicity swaths are matched to corresponding reflectivity and rotation track objects in Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system data on space and time scales typical of a National Weather Service warning. Object matching allows contingency-table-based verification statistics to be used to establish baseline performance metrics for NEWS-e thunderstorm and mesocyclone forecasts. NEWS-e critical success index (CSI) scores of reflectivity (updraft helicity) forecasts decrease from approximately 0.7 (0.4) to 0.4 (0.2) over 3 h of forecast time. CSI scores decrease through the forecast period, indicating that errors do not saturate during the 3-h forecast. Lower verification scores for rotation track forecasts are primarily a result of a high-frequency bias. Comparison of different system configurations used in 2016 and 2017 shows an increase in skill for 2017 reflectivity forecasts, attributable mainly to improvements in the forecast initial conditions. A small decrease in skill in 2017 rotation track forecasts is likely a result of sample differences between 2016 and 2017. Although large case-to-case variation is present, evidence is found that NEWS-e forecast skill improves with increasing object size and intensity.
A key advantage of the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array Radar (PAR) is the capability to adaptively scan storms at higher temporal resolution than is possible with the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D): 1 min or less versus 4.1 min, respectively. High temporal resolution volumetric radar data are a necessity for rapid identification and confirmation of weather phenomena that can develop within minutes. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the PAR's ability to collect rapid-scan volumetric data that provide more detailed depictions of quickly evolving storm structures than the WSR-88D. Scientific advantages of higher temporal resolution PAR data are examined for three convective storms that occurred during the spring and summer of 2006, including a reintensifying supercell, a microburst, and a hailstorm. The analysis of the reintensifying supercell (58-s updates) illustrates the capability to diagnose the detailed evolution of developing and/or intensifying areas of 1) low-altitude divergence and rotation and 2) rotation through the depth of the storm. The fuller sampling of the microburst's storm life cycle (34-s updates) depicts precursors to the strong surface outflow that are essentially indiscernible in the WSR-88D data. Furthermore, the 34-s scans provide a more precise sampling of peak outflow. The more frequent sampling of the hailstorm (26-s updates) illustrates the opportunity to analyze storm structures indicative of rapid intensification, the development of hail aloft, and the onset of the downdraft near the surface.
Since 2007 the advancement of the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased-Array Radar (NWRT PAR) hardware and software capabilities has been supporting the implementation of high-temporal-resolution (;1 min) sampling. To achieve the increase in computational power and data archiving needs required for high-temporal-resolution sampling, the signal processor was upgraded to a scalable, Linux-based cluster with a distributed computing architecture. The development of electronic adaptive scanning, which can reduce update times by focusing data collection on significant weather, became possible through functionality added to the radar control interface and real-time controller. Signal processing techniques were implemented to address data quality issues, such as artifact removal and range-and-velocity ambiguity mitigation, absent from the NWRT PAR at its installation. The hardware and software advancements described above have made possible the development of conventional and electronic scanning capabilities that achieve high-temporalresolution sampling. Those scanning capabilities are sector-and elevation-prioritized scanning, beam multiplexing, and electronic adaptive scanning. Each of these capabilities and related sampling trade-offs are explained and demonstrated through short case studies.
This study describes, illustrates, and validates hail detection by a simplified version of the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s fuzzy logic polarimetric hydrometeor classification algorithm (HCA). The HCA uses four radar variables: reflectivity, differential reflectivity, cross-correlation coefficient, and “reflectivity texture” to classify echoes as rain mixed with hail, ground clutter–anomalous propagation, biological scatterers (insects, birds, and bats), big drops, light rain, moderate rain, and heavy rain. Diagnostic capabilities of HCA, such as detection of hail, are illustrated for a variety of storm environments using polarimetric radar data collected mostly during the Joint Polarimetric Experiment (JPOLE; 28 April–13 June 2003). Hail classification with the HCA is validated using 47 rain and hail reports collected by storm-intercept teams during JPOLE. For comparison purposes, probability of hail output from the Next-Generation Weather Radar Hail Detection Algorithm (HDA) is validated using the same ground truth. The anticipated polarimetric upgrade of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler network drives this direct comparison of performance. For the four examined cases, contingency table statistics show that the HCA outperforms the HDA. The superior performance of the HCA results primary from the algorithm’s lack of false alarms compared to the HDA. Statistical significance testing via bootstrapping indicates that differences in the probability of detection and critical success index between the algorithms are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, whereas differences in the false alarm rate and Heidke skill score are statistically significant at the 90% confidence level.
This study investigates the use of tornadic debris signature (TDS) parameters to estimate tornado damage severity using Norman, Oklahoma (KOUN), polarimetric radar data (polarimetric version of the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler radar). Several TDS parameters are examined, including parameters based on the 10th or 90th percentiles of polarimetric variables (lowest tilt TDS parameters) and TDS parameters based on the TDS volumetric coverage (spatial TDS parameters). Two highly detailed National Weather Service (NWS) damage surveys are compared to TDS parameters. The TDS parameters tend to be correlated with the enhanced Fujita scale (EF) rating. The 90th percentile reflectivity, TDS height, and TDS volume increase during tornado intensification and decrease during tornado dissipation. For 14 tornado cases, the maximum or minimum TDS parameter values are compared to the tornado's EF rating. For tornadoes with a higher EF rating, higher maximum values of the 90th percentile Z HH , TDS height, and volume, as well as lower minimum values of 10th percentile r HV and Z DR , are observed. Maxima in spatial TDS parameters are observed after periods of severe, widespread tornado damage for violent tornadoes. This paper discusses how forecasters could use TDS parameters to obtain near-real-time information about tornado damage severity and spatial extent.
Rapid-scan weather radars, such as the S-band phased array radar at the National Weather Radar Testbed in Norman, Oklahoma, improve precision in the depiction of severe storm processes. To explore potential impacts of such data on forecaster warning decision making, 12 National Weather Service forecasters participated in a preliminary study with two control conditions: 1) when radar scan time was similar to volume coverage pattern 12 (4.5 min) and 2) when radar scan time was faster (43 s). Under these control conditions, forecasters were paired and worked a tropical tornadic supercell case. Their decision processes were observed and audio was recorded, interactions with data displays were video recorded, and the products were archived. A debriefing was conducted with each of the six teams independently and jointly, to ascertain the forecaster decision-making process. Analysis of these data revealed that teams examining the same data sometimes came to different conclusions about whether and when to warn. Six factors contributing toward these differences were identified: 1) experience, 2) conceptual models, 3) confidence, 4) tolerance of possibly missing a tornado occurrence, 5) perceived threats, and 6) software issues. The three 43-s teams issued six warnings: three verified, two did not verify, and one event was missed. Warning lead times were the following: tornado, 18.6 and 11.5 min, and severe, 6 min. The three tornado warnings issued by the three 4.5-min teams verified, though warning lead times were shorter: 4.6 and 0 min (two teams). In this case, use of rapid-scan data showed the potential to extend warning lead time and improve forecasters’ confidence, compared to standard operations.
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