ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

The Dallas-Fort-Worth (DFW) Demonstration Flood and Weather Network

Colorado State University


The Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) has partnered with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the National Weather Service (NWS) to establish an Urban Weather Demonstration System, the Dallas-Fort Worth Testbed . Our vision is to create a model for the future of urban weather observation from a technological, operational, and socioeconomic perspective where multiple stakeholders jointly fund operation of the testbed. We invite additional private, federal, and municipal organizations to join us in developing the DFWT. Over the past eight years, CASA, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, has developed and demonstrated a new and effective weather sensing paradigm based on densely-spaced networks of small, low-power radars. These networks observe the lowest levels of the atmosphere at a higher spatial and temporal resolution than is currently afforded by operational NWS radars. Such observations allow for accurate flood, high-wind, and tornado forecasts to mitigate negative effects of severe weather on public safety and commerce. Since 2007, CASA has operated the Integrative Project #1 (IP1) radar network located in southwest Oklahoma in close collaboration with emergency managers, NWS forecasters, and the public. The observations and forecasts provided by the CASA network increased lead time of tornado and flood warnings. CASA plans to deploy a similar network in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex to demonstrate public safety and economic benefits in a densely-populated urban environment, where the accurate and timely prediction of severe weather events becomes more challenging and critical. The DFW region (pop. 6.3 million in 2010) has experienced rapid growth, registering the largest population growth of any region in the U.S. in 2009. The region hosts two major and nine regional airports and has an extensive road and rail network supporting the local economy. The region also experiences a multitude of hazards including urban flooding, hail, and ice, in addition to low-level severe wind events including tornadoes. From 2000-2010, flash floods, tornados, and thunderstorms have caused numerous injuries, fatalities, and over $333 million in economic losses in the DFW area. Icing hazards have also shown to disrupt activities in the region, as demonstrated during the 2011 Super Bowl. We have initiated a five-year, joint project to operate a network of eight high-resolution, low-power, X-band radars in the DFW area that can be supplemented by measurements from other instruments supplied, operated, and maintained by project partners. CASA, NCTCOG stakeholders, and the NWS will be the principal partners. The project will start as a quasi-operational sensing system disseminating real-time radar data, nowcasts, and numerical weather prediction (NWP) model products to end-users for decision-making support. End-users will initially include emergency managers and NWS forecasters supporting decisions and applications related to transportation, utilities, sporting arenas, corporate headquarters, and the media in the DFW area. Additionally, this urban demonstration project will serve as a prototype for operating and integrating networks of heterogeneous radars, in-situ and ground-based sensors, and their products to demonstrate the "Nationwide Network-of-Networks" concept, that is being pursued by the NWS.

Thursday, Jul 14 2011

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