Researchers with the Advanced Radar Research Center hosted a virtual workshop, Atmospheric Science Applications of Ground-Based Phased Array Radars, that gathered 166 international attendees from the scientific community representing eight countries and 30 universities.
The workshop’s goal was to get input from members of the scientific community working in these fields on the types of research that can be done with these phased array radar systems as well as identifying some of the technology and training barriers that may need to be overcome. Phased array radars scan the atmosphere with electronic beams rather than moving a large dish, which provides much faster and more complete scans. David Bodine, an ARRC research scientist, led the discussion which included eight 10-minute lightning talks on different applications of phased array radar followed by breakout sessions on topics from tornado formation and severe weather to discussions on how to improve scientific understanding of more general weather research.
“There’s been a lot of tornado research with this technology so far, but there hasn’t been as much research in other areas like studying hail or damaging winds, or even to get a more basic understanding of the precipitation and winds inside clouds and thunderstorms,” Bodine said. “There is a lot that can be learned for those applications.”
Bodine said that an outcome from the workshop was a better understanding of the need for these radars to be more broadly available for different user groups.
“Some more data collection opportunities, especially focused on making those available to anybody who wants them, would be really beneficial for the scientific community,” he said. “There’s a lot that’s not known about the lifecycle of a thunderstorm…and things can happen within a complex of thunderstorms fairly quickly, so you really need this technology to be able to scan a lot of different levels very quickly in the storm to see not only what’s going on at the bottom, but what’s going on at the top and all the interactions that are going on through the depth of the storm as well as across the storm."
“That’s something this type of radar can do really well, whereas other radars are really too slow to see all of those processes together,” he added. “This is a radar that really could have a lot of advantages for taking it to study storms in different parts of the world and could have a big impact on weather forecasting and climate research.”
The Lightning Talks were: