Radar Love

Published: 27 September 2011

A capacity crowd listens attentively as the ARM radar short course begins.
A few days ago, ARM sponsored a short course on millimeter wavelength radar data to kick off the American Meteorological Society’s 35th Conference on Radar Meteorology in Pittsburgh, Penn., this week. About 50 radar enthusiasts took part—mostly young scientists and engineers, but there were some veterans in the field too. What did they come to hear? To learn about the latest advances in cloud radar technology, its various applications for weather and climate research, and how to use the data!

Radar technology has come a long way since the first radars were developed by the U.S. Air Force for defense purposes. Advances in both software and hardware—especially in the last decade or so—allow for programming that results in greatly improved measurement sensitivity and resolution since the first ARM zenith pointing cloud radar started operating continuously in 1996. We’ve deployed 18 new scanning radars in the past year alone, nearly doubling the number of radars in the ARM collection. This means there is a LOT of data that’s brand new and nobody’s seen it before, let alone used it.

The morning was spent on overviews of cloud radar theory, technology, and current ground-band airborne platforms. After lunch, the attendees received a thumbdrive with sample radar Doppler spectra from different ARM radars and a spectra browser graphical user interface. Attendees used the browser to load, display, and process the spectra data during a hands-on “Doppler spectra lab” that took place in the afternoon. This browser will soon be available to data users, so stay tuned!

Millimeter Wavelength Radar Short Course Team (left to right): Pavlos Kollias, Ed Luke, Karen Johnson, Simone Tanelli, Nitin Bharadwaj, and David Leon.
Pavlos Kollias from McGill University (left in photo) emceed the course (trust us, “chaired” does not do justice to his energy level). He and several instructors put a lot of work into this course and deserve a huge pat on the back for its success (left to right):

  • Ed Luke and Karen Johnson, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Simone Tanelli, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Nitin Bharadwaj, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • David Leon, University of Wyoming

Thanks to these great instructors and to everyone who participated!