NWS Pittsburgh WSR-88D Radar to Receive Dual Polarization Upgrade
From July 6th-July 16th 2011, the Doppler radar at National Weather Service Pittsburgh will get an important upgrade to incorporate new technology. What is it? It's called dual-polarization or "dual-pol." The Pittsburgh office is a beta test site for this new technology, one of the first in the nation! This is all part of the upgrade to dual-pol for all radars across the entire National Weather Service network.
The new dual-pol technology will result in 14 new radar products. This will be very beneficial to our forecasts, watches and warnings. It will help us to continue providing our suite of high quality products and services to the people of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland!
It is important to note that during the 2-week installation process, our radar will be offline. Neighboring National Weather Service Doppler radars in Cleveland, OH, Wilmington, OH, Charleston, WV, Sterling, VA and State College, PA will be used to closely monitor our area.
What is Polarization?
A radio wave is a set of oscillating electric & magnetic fields, oriented 90 degrees to each other. Polarization of the wave is the direction, or orientation, of the electric field.Horizontal Polarization
The electric field is oriented horizontally, along the x-axis (in blue). The magnetic field is oriented vertically, along the y-axis (in white).Vertical Polarization
The electric field is oriented vertically, along the y-axis (in red). The magnetic field is oriented horizontally, along the x-axis (in white).Current NWS Doppler Radars
Transmits and receives only horizontally polarized radio wave pulses. Therefore, they measure only the horizontal dimension of cloud and precipitation particles.Polarimetric Radar
Transmit and receive both horizontally and vertically polarized radio wave pulses. Therefore, they measure the horizontal and vertical dimension of cloud and precipitation particles.
Why is Dual-Pol Better?
By comparing the power returned to the radar from both horizontal and vertical pulses in different ways, we can obtain information on the size, shape and ice density of cloud and precipitation particles.What are the Benefits of Dual-Pol?
There are many! They include:
Want to Learn More?
Check out these links to learn more about dual-pol technology:
Dual-Polarization Training for NWS Partners