Researchers Leverage Airport Radars for Better Weather Forecasting

Achievement date: 

Researchers at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC), have integrated the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) into their Dallas/Fort Worth Demonstration Network (CASA WX). In this effort, CASA researchers collaborated with the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) at the University of Oklahoma.


The creation of this technology leverages the existing 45 TDWRs near large airports that the FAA uses to measure wind shear hazards. The CASA team saw the TDWRs as untapped resources to supplement the NEXRAD Doppler radar network. The team previously collaborated with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to obtain high-resolution weather data to supplement CASA WX. This arrangement with the FAA helps to further that cause at minimal cost.


CASA is making steady progress in establishing CASA WX. After being unveiled in July 2012, the first radar was installed at the University of Texas-Austin in October 2012. That radar is now sending out live data to a group of emergency managers (for evaluation) whenever severe weather approaches the DFW metroplex. The second radar was deployed in April 2013 at the University of North Texas (UNT). The plan is to operate an eight-node network that covers 12 of the 16 counties in the metroplex. With more funding, the team hopes to expand to 20 nodes.