Gary England Explains Phased Array Radar

Thursday, September 25th 2014, 2:05 pm
By: News 9

The News 9 weather team is focused on finding faster and more accurate ways to warn us about severe weather. And a new radar at the National Weather Center (NWC) will help.

It's called a Phased Array Radar. News 9's Gary England is keeping us advised on this new technology.

What used to be a Navy training base is now the weather center world-class organization, consisting of the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology, the National Weather Service, Severe Storms Lab Severe Storm Prediction Center and many other very important weather entities

A lot has changed, but the one goal is always been here is to create and develop radars that provide more warning time for you to help keep you safe: more timely and more accurately.

“The phased array radar consists of a plate that is fixed in space you scan the radar electronically so the beam actually moves electronically, not through an electronic mechanism of the physically stirring radar,” explained Kelvin Droegemeier, Vice President for Research and Professor of Meteorology at OU.

“We have one that is not a flat plate. It's actually a cylinder, looks like a soup can. So we put this on a flatbed truck … [and take it out]collecting data. [Data is]collected very rapidly and instead of taking five to six minutes to scan an entire storm or a volume of storms we can do it maybe 15 to 20 seconds.”

“This really gives us the ability to understand the physics of the storm, to really improve the warning lead time as well, and to use computer models we think to predict the storms far in advance. I never thought in my lifetime I would see the notion concept of even predicting a tornado with the computer model. Now I think it's clearly possible just question of how accurate will we be and what cases will work,” Droegemeier said.

I'm Gary England. Stay with News 9, we'll keep you advised.