Dual Polarization Radar


Dual-polarization, or dual-pol, is part of the NWS vision to build a weather-ready nation to better protect lives and livelihoods. This new technology provides 14 new radar products that will support our mission to serve our partners and customers in Central Alabama. 

What is Dual-Pol?

Dual-polarimetric radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. As a result, the returning frequencies provide measurements of the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets, supplying forecasters with better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets.

 Current NWS doppler radar
 Dual-pol radar
Old NWS WSR-88D radar Dual-polarimetric radar

Benefits of Dual-Pol
  • Improved accuracy of precipitation estimates, leading to better flash flood detection
  • Ability to discern between heavy rain, hail, snow, and sleet
  • Improved detection of non-meteorological echoes (e.g. ground clutter, chaff, anomalous propagation, birds, and tornado debris)
  • Detection of aircraft icing conditions
  • Identification of the melting layer (e.g. bright band)
Dual-Pol Products & Applications

The base radar products that have been available to users are base reflectivity, base velocity, and spectrum width. After the Dual-Pol upgrade, three new base products will be available: differential reflectivity (ZDR), correlation coefficient (CC), and specific differential phase (KDP). In addition to these three base products, there are several derived products. These include a melting layer (ML) product, a hydrometeor classification algorithm (HCA) product, and eight new precipitation products. Mouse-over the labels below to view examples of four of these new products. Images courtesy of the Warning Decision Training Branch.

 

Differential Reflectivity

Applications

Training & Additional Information



Radar images courtesy of WDTB

Some of the web content courtesy of NWS AMA & NWS FFC





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