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The Doppler Radar and Remote Sensing Research Group works to develop techniques and instruments useful to the National Weather Service for observation of weather.


The WSR-88D (NEXRAD) radars are the weather radars currently in use by the National Weather Service (NWS), Department of Defense (DOD), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The nationwide network includes over 150 Doppler weather radars, deployed in 1988. The technology for the WSR-88D was developed and tested at NSSL during the 1980's. NSSL engineers working with meteorologists continue to extend the functionality and capabilities of the WSR-88D radar by developing and testing dual-polarization techniques to improve precipitation discrimination, leading to more accurate forecasts.

Polarimetric Doppler Radar

The primary tool of the DRaRSR group is the polarimetric Doppler radar, KOUN. The research radar serves as a prototype for a future national network of polarimetric radars. This upgrade to the existing WSR-88D network is expected to begin in approximately 2009.

The group is actively involved in researching and evaluating the merits of polarimetry as it relates to flash flood warnings, measurements of rainfall and snowfall, and identification of precipitation types. Data quality and precipitation product enhancements developed from NSSL research will be implemented into the upgrade to assist meteorologists, hydrologists, and aviation users on a national scale. In addition to advancing technology and methods, efforts are made to further understand weather phenomena in order to best interpret observations and to apply polarimetric techniques.

Signal Processing

KOUN serves as a testbed where evolutionary and radical improvements in computing and signal processing are evaluated to determine if they are suitable to be included in the network of NWS radars.