NOAA announced Thursday that all 122 National Weather Service (NWS) Doppler radars in the U.S. have completed their schedule dual-pol upgrades, and that the last installments should be completed in June to sites in Alaska. This new technology is anticipated to help with severe weather detection, differentiating precipitation types whether it may be rain, ice, or snow, and even precipitation estimates.
- Dual-pol radar view of a tornadic storm that hit Hattiesburg, MS
Explaining why these upgrades are important, NOAA stated in the article,
"The dual-pol upgrade includes new software and a hardware attachment to the radar dish that sends and receives both horizontal and vertical pulses of energy, providing a much more informative two-dimensional picture. Conventional Doppler radars only send out a horizontal pulse of energy that gives forecasters a one-dimensional picture of whatever is in the air, precipitation or non-precipitation. It can see precipitation, but can’t tell the difference between rain, snow, or hail. Dual-pol radar helps forecasters clearly identify rain, hail, snow or ice pellets, and other flying objects, improving forecasts for all types of weather."
Additional learning material can be found online from the NWS's Warning Decision Training Branch or WDTB site which not only has online learning material for non-NWS meteorologists, but also learning for non-meteorologists that use the WSR-88D radar (at the bottom of the page).