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April 12th Reddit AMA: What’s On the Radar? Talk Weather Research with NOAA

When severe weather strikes anywhere in the United States, weather radar is one of the most important tools forecasters use to track storms and warn the public. The current system, known as the WSR-88D radar or NEXRAD, provides the best quality data available in the world, and is the most reliable.

We are radar specialists and work in the Radar Operations Center, the support center for the nation’s radar system, and at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, which houses scientists from a variety of organizations, including NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS).

The NEXRADs were deployed in the early to mid-1990s and were upgraded with new dual-polarization technology a few years ago. To keep them running for another 30 years, a $150 million, seven-year effort is underway to refurbish and replace major system components such as the signal processor, transmitter, pedestal, and equipment shelters. 

NSSL researchers are developing the next big advancement—phased array radar. It has a unique flat panel antenna made up of a grid of fixed elements, and each can transmit and receive a signal. As a result, the radar beam can be steered electronically, giving users the ability to control how, when and where the radar scans. This will provide forecasters with faster updates.

We'll be ready to answer your questions on April 12th from 1 - 3 p.m. ET/ 12 - 2 p.m. CT,  so ask us anything!

Reddit AMA Details

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Who: Jessica Schultz, meteorologist, NEXRAD Radar Operations Center, NOAA/NWS
  Kurt Hondl, manager and research scientist, NOAA NSSL
  Terry Schuur, CIMMS research scientist, working at the NOAA NSSL
  Katie Wilson, CIMMS research scientist, working at the NOAA NSSL
When: Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 1-3 p.m. ET/12-2 p.m. CT
Where: Reddit Science AMA series

About the Scientists

Jessica Schultz is a meteorologist working at the tri-agency Radar Operations Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and a Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership from The University of Oklahoma. A former field forecaster with the NOAA National Weather Service, she has taken a leadership role in transferring major radar improvements and technologies into the NEXRAD network.

Kurt Hondl is the program manager for multi-function phased array radar research at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Lab. Originally from Dickinson, North Dakota, Hondi received a Master’s degree from The University of Oklahoma and specializes in forecasting display systems and radar development.

Terry Schuur is a research scientist at The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies working at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. Schuur earned a doctorate in Atmospheric Science and his research involves work on cloud physics and polarimetric radar research.

Katie Wilson is a research scientist at The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies working at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. She recently earned her doctoral degree in meteorology from The University of Oklahoma. A native of central England, she works on interdisciplinary experiments to understand the impact of higher-temporal resolution radar data on National Weather Service forecasters’ warning decision processes.



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    Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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