Radar and Remote Sensing

The Phased Array Radar Innovative Sensing Experiment 2013

Katie Bowden
OU School of Meteorology

10 April 2014, 1:15 PM

National Weather Center, Room 1350
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Given that the Weather Surveillance Radar–1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) was designed with a projected 20-year lifetime, phased array radar (PAR) is being considered as a strong replacement candidate to the current NEXRAD network. PAR’s electronic scanning capability enables faster and more flexible sampling of the atmosphere, providing volume updates in less than 1 min. This update time is substantially faster than the current 4–6-min updates provided by the WSR-88D.
The Phased Array Radar Innovative Sensing Experiment (PARISE) explores impacts of higher-temporal resolution radar data on the warning decision process of NWS forecasters. Previous PARISEs in 2010 and 2012 focused on EF-0 and EF-1 tornado events, and reported longer lead times through the use of rapid-scan radar data. PARISE 2013 switches the focus to severe hail and wind events. During six weeks in the summer of 2013, a total of twelve NWS forecasters visited Norman, Oklahoma. Participants were assigned to a control (5-min updates) or experiment (1-min updates) group, and worked two case studies in simulated real time. A compound warning decision process was used to verify participants’ performance, where the experiment group demonstrated more accurate warning decisions than the control group. Furthermore, the experiment group’s mean lead time of 21.9 min exceeded that of the control group’s by 5.5 min. A confidence based assessment tool was used to determine the types of decisions participants made. More mastery decisions (i.e., confident and correct) were made by the experiment group than the control group.
A recent case walk-through procedure was used to obtain qualitative data regarding participants’ warning decision processes. A situational awareness framework was used to guide thematic coding of timelines. An important finding from this coding was that the experiment group perceived a significantly higher amount of information in the radar data compared to the control group, allowing for the evolution of storm features and trends to be observed better. Overall, the reported findings in PARISE 2013 demonstrate that the use of higher-temporal resolution radar data was beneficial to NWS forecasters during severe hail and wind events.

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Radar and Remote Sensing Seminar Series website