Rapid-Scanning Doppler on Wheels

June 9th, 2005 | Filed under: Mapping, News, Technology | 1 Comment »

The Rapid-Scan Doppler on Wheels (DOW) from the Center for Severe Weather Research can scan tornadoes every 5 to 10 seconds compared to other Doppler radars that transmit only a single beam, taking about five minutes to render a three-dimensional storm portrait. Data has been collected from over 100 tornadoes with the new instrument, giving scientists a better picture on the critical steps of an evolving tornado.

“We can’t answer basic questions about ‘typical’ tornadoes right now, such as how strong their winds are,” says Wurman. “By looking at these cases, we hope to better understand the features of many types of tornadoes.” These findings could be compared to storm types to produce improved warnings, Wurman adds.

Wurman and NCAR scientists plan to select a few tornadoes for more in-depth study. They’ll use a technique called velocity track display (VTD), originally developed for hurricane studies, that allows scientists to extract three-dimensional wind information from a single Doppler radar.

The scientists have already used VTD with DOW data to analyze a large and intense tornado that struck Mulhall, Okla., in 1999. They discovered a central downdraft, similar to the eye of a hurricane, surrounded by a ring of updrafts blowing at near-hurricane force, with multiple small vortices rotating around this ring. The structure found in the Mulhall tornado had been observed for many years in lab experiments and computer models, but it had never before been verified by radar data.

Images courtesy of the Center for Severe Weather Research

via NSF – News

One Comment on “Rapid-Scanning Doppler on Wheels”

  1. 1 Doppler On Wheels | All Wheels Blog said at 6:57 am on April 1st, 2011:

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