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In Brief Weather

Dual-polarization radar is worth its weight in gold

Tornado debris signature on April 28, 2014 in SE Tennesee.
Tornado debris signature as seen by the Hytop, AL radar (KHTX) on the night of April 28, 2014. Clockwise from left: Base reflectivity, storm relative velocity, correlation coefficient, differential reflectivity (ZDR). Tornado debris signature is where the “debris ball” of high reflectivity (reds and pinks) colocate with the strong velocity couplet (reds and yellows next to greens in the velocity image), the drop in correlation coefficient (blue circle) and ZDR (gray areas).

Dan Satterfield: NWS Weather Radar Upgrade Proving Wildly Successful

Dual-polarization is a new thing, but I sure don’t know how I or anyone else confidently interpreted radar without it. There is little doubt that the confidence dual-pol products lend to warning forecasters and broadcast meteorologists conveying those critical messages saved a lot of lives on April 28. (Unfortunately, 36 people have died as a result of the outbreak, so there is still plenty of work to be done.)

By Jared Smith

Jared Smith is a web developer and weather enthusiast living in Charleston, SC.