Rapid-scan super-resolution observations of a cyclic supercell with a dual-polarization WSR-88D

Matthew R. Kumjian, Alexander V. Ryzhkov, Valery M. Melnikov, Terry J. Schuur

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65 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been widespread interest in collecting and analyzing rapid updates of radar data in severe convective storms. To this end, conventional single-polarization rapid-scan radars and phased array radar systems have been employed in numerous studies. However, rapid updates of dual-polarization radar data in storms are not widely available. For this study, a rapid scanning strategy is developed for the polarimetric prototype research Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar in Norman, Oklahoma (KOUN), which emulates the future capabilities of a polarimetric multifunction phased array radar (MPAR). With this strategy, data are collected over an 80° sector with 0.5° azimuthal spacing and 250-m radial resolution ("super resolution"), with 12 elevation angles. Thus, full volume scans over a limited area are collected every 71-73 s. The scanning strategy was employed on a cyclic nontornadic supercell storm in western Oklahoma on 1 June 2008. The evolution of the polarimetric signatures in the supercell is analyzed. The repetitive pattern of evolution of these polarimetric features is found to be directly tied to the cyclic occlusion process of the low-level mesocyclone. The cycle for each of the polarimetric signatures is presented and described in detail, complete with a microphysical interpretation. In doing so, for the first time the bulk microphysical properties of the storm on small time scales (inferred from polarimetric data) are analyzed. The documented evolution of the polarimetric signatures could be used operationally to aid in the detection and determination of various stages of the low-level mesocyclone occlusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3762-3786
Number of pages25
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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