NWC REU 2001
May 28 - August 3



Developing a Statistical Climatology of Storm Cell Characteristics

Adam Lopes and Kelvin Droegemeier



The establishment of a statistical climatology of storm cell characteristics has long been a goal of the atmospheric research community. Yet, the large amounts of data necessary for such a project, coupled with an incomplete radar Level II data archive, made this sort of endeavor impossible. In 1998, however, the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at the University of Oklahoma began the Collaborative Radar Acquisition Field Test (or Project CRAFT) as an effort to equip WSR-88D radars with the capability to compress and transmit Level II data over the Internet in real time. For 2 years the CRAFT radars have been continuously transmitting data, assembling a Level II data archive that is nearly 100% complete. The success of Project CRAFT has presented the enabling technology to begin a statistical climatology of storm cell characteristics. Therefore, this pilot study was done in order to identify several methods through which a statistical climatology can be constructed. Storm events were selectively chosen for this study. After the Level II radar data from Dallas/Ft. Worth radar (KFWS) was collected for each event and run through the Storm Cell Identification and Tracking (SCIT) Algorithm, the data was analyzed several different ways. Analysis techniques include developing frequency distributions of cell characteristics, examining relationships among the cell characteristics, and plotting the cell characteristics spatially using GIS software. Spatial plots were then related to the locations of Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport and major airways into and out of this airport. These analysis techniques proved to be beneficial, as several conclusions were reached that may, upon the compilation of years of radar data, lead to the development of a credible statistical climatology of storm cell characteristics. Furthermore, the results presented from this small data set show great promise for the potential utility of such a climatology for air traffic considerations at large airports.

Paper available upon request.