|Accessing FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR)
A new radar
website from the National Weather Service is
allowing access to data from specialized weather radars owned
and maintained by FAA, called Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR).
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, OH, is fortunate to have
three of these radars within our area of responsibility at the
These radars were installed by the FAA near major airports in response
to a number of wind shear induced accidents during the 1970s/1980s.
The radars are highly sensitive to the wind flows in and
around thunderstorms, allowing for detection of microbursts and wind
shear that in the past has caused fatal traffic accidents. This is made
possible by higher temporal (radar scans that occur
every minute near the ground when storms are detected by the radar),
and spatial resolution (narrower radar beam width) scanning properties in comparison
to standard weather radar.
- 11 miles SE
of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
miles E of Port Columbus International Airport
- Dayton - 10 miles
NE of Dayton International Airport
During the late 2000s, a partnership between the NWS and FAA brought
this data into NWS forecast offices, allowing NWS meteorologists to use
the specialized data in its mission of protecting life and property via
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings. As it turns
out, the strengths of the radar for flight safety are also strengths
for the detection of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes for the
non-flying public as well.
Only recently has this data become more available in the public domain,
and via the links on our web page and within this story, you can access this data by licking on the
radar of your choice from the blue left-side menu along any of our NWS
Wilmington web pages. (see below).
In addition, the National Weather Service in Wilmington is
part of a current test to distribute the 1-minute resolution
radar data (only when the TDWR is in "Storm Mode - VCP 80") in full
temporal resolution. Currently, most TDWRs outside the test are sending
data every 6 minutes. Should the test go smoothly, all FAA
TDWR data will be sent in full resolution in the near future
-- accessible via the new website linked above.
There are a number of products available from each TDWR, as shown in
the example images below. Click
image for a higher resolution version!
Below is a map of the coverage of these TDWR radars in the Wilmington,
OH forecast area. (The forecast areas are denoted by thicker red
lines.) The yellow ring around each radar denotes the extent
of the 48nm products. We are fortunate in that more than 80%
of our area is covered by these FAA radars. Click image for a higher
Binau, Science and Operations Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)