Public Release:  OU next-generation radar deployed in DFW area

New cutting-edge system will save lives and property

University of Oklahoma

A University of Oklahoma next generation radar was deployed in Addison, Texas, today as part of a new cutting-edge system designed to save lives and property by providing near-surface, fine-scale, rapidly updated information on severe weather. The Dallas-Fort Worth Urban Demonstration Network is a five-year, $10 million joint venture between OU, the University of Massachusetts and Colorado State University.

"It is a great credit to the quality of the radar research team at OU that our technology has been selected for this lifesaving project," said OU President David L. Boren."

Researchers collaborated on the development of the new radar system for the Urban Demonstration Network with the goal of improving the detection, prediction and warning of hazardous weather, including flash flooding, severe winds and tornadoes, across an urban environment.

"The Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere Demonstration Network is a 'living testbed,' where information from the Network will be used in real-time operations by the National Weather Service and local emergency managers to improve severe weather warning operations," said Jerry Brotzge, senior scientist for OU's Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms. "At the same time, the Network is a cutting-edge research tool to be used by scientists to explore and test new sensing equipment, observing strategies, warning systems and forecast technologies."

"The value of the CASA Network is that it will use any and all data available across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, including data collected by local, state and federal agencies as well as from the private sector," states Brotzge. "In essence, we call this a 'Network of Networks'. All of this information feeds into our real-time analysis and forecasts, products that are then disseminated to stakeholders across the region. We anticipate the data will benefit those in areas of emergency management, aviation, surface transportation and media."

The OU radar deployed in Addison, Texas, was designed by the Advanced Radar Research Center on the OU Research Campus and manufactured by Electronics Enterprise Corporation. When all radars are deployed, the Urban Demonstration Network will provide a dense network of overlapping coverage across the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex. The Network will consist of mechanically scanning, dual-polarimetric X-band radars, with four radars scheduled for deployment by spring 2014.

The advantages of these small radars were demonstrated in rural southwest Oklahoma where a Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere network was deployed over a six-year period. With a population of 6.5 million and severe weather, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is an ideal location for a demonstration testbed. The Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere collaborated with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to deploy a system that provides data five to ten times more detailed than current radar systems at near-ground level.

Earlier and more precise tracking in an area with severe weather also makes the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex the perfect urban test site. NWS forecasters receive data every five minutes from current radar systems. These small radars complete a sweep and transmit data once every minute--a critical difference in life-threatening situations. Small radars offer finer resolution, provide significantly improved data on rainfall amounts, wind shear and tornado signatures within a storm.

Over the next decade, OU and its collaborators hope to see the system deployed in major metropolitan areas across the country where severe storms have had a huge impact in loss of lives and property. The Dallas-Fort Worth Urban Demonstration Network is being funded and operated by a consortium of local, federal government and private sector partners. For more information about the OU radar and the Urban Demonstration Network, contact Jerry Brotzge at jbrotzge@ou.edu or visit the CAPS website at http://www.caps.ou.edu.

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