The most significant upgrade to NOAA’s radar systems in nearly two decades is underway. The federal agency is upgrading its NEXRAD radars to Dual Polarization technology. This technology will help the radars to do a better job of estimating precipitation amounts for improved flood warnings, detect hail and other severe weather along with determining what type of precipitation is falling. The Phoenix radar was the first system upgraded to the new Dual Pol technology back in May. Last Friday, work started on the Pendleton, Oregon radar. The entire U.S. radar network is expected to be upgraded by early summer, 2013.
How it works….
Current NOAA radars send energy out in horizontal pulses. Dual Pol radars send out horizontal and vertical pulses. This allows weather phenomena to be measured in two dimensions. By comparing horizontal and vertical returns, more can be learned about the size, shape and other characteristics of atmospheric particles.