National Weather Service Radar
The National Weather Service (NWS) operates a network of Doppler Weather Radar around the United States. These radars are used by the local NWS forecast offices and the data is made commercially available through numerous sources. In fact, you often see this data on your local television station or in your favorite weather app. Doppler Radar’s are one of the primary weather tools used for the predication of precipitation related weather, and the formation of tornadoes and high winds. Many of the companies who distribute and market the radar precipitation data simply pass the data to their customers as it is. Baron as a pioneer in real-time weather intelligence technologies quality controls the weather information and uses advanced computer processes to provide improvements. Additionally, we have a long history of generating new derivative products that aid in the creation of life saving technologies.
In fact, Baron is uniquely qualified to provide the latest advancements and technologies in radar development, display and processing. Baron manufactures and designs Doppler radars and recently upgraded the entire network of NWS operated radar to the latest technology. Today the NWS has released a new operating mode for their entire network of radar. Taking advantage of this new paradigm, Baron has once again set the bar high with new and improved radar and severe weather monitoring products.
Faster Radar Processing
Baron just announced their exclusive intelligent processing of radar data. The company is now delivering new severe weather enhancements to its full suite of active weather monitoring, alerting and weather API cloud distribution services. These new products provide numerous benefits in the detection and communication of significant weather events that will help people be better prepared in weather events, including flooding, hail and/or tornado formation. This faster processing has the potential to deliver life-saving weather information sooner.
Baron Processing Benefits
- More timely and precise severe weather detection
- Increased detection of severe storms and tornadic rotations that, previously with the older technology, may have been undetected during a full radar scan.
- More accurate storm track placement with only Baron Storm Tracks relative to radar imagery
- Improved times of arrival in the storm track communities list.
A Bit of Background
The development to support and enhance this new operating paradigm, commonly referred to as MESO-SAILS by those in the weather industry, builds on the rich history of Baron’s pioneering work in severe weather detection. A little bit of history is necessary to understand the benefits of this new mode.
Until the past three years, NWS radars needed to complete what was referred to as a full volume scan—up to 14 elevations (also called “tilts”) of scanning—before returning to the lowest level. Lower elevations are of the greatest interest to meteorologists, since they provide relevant weather information nearest to the ground. Tornadoes, hail, and high winds seen in these lower levels have a greater chance of impacting people and structures. Meteorologists can learn important information about the composition of storms and their growth and development.
Shown to the left is the most conventional form of volume scan.
Beginning in spring 2014, the National Weather Service implemented a new technique called SAILS (Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low-Level Scan), which allowed an additional lowest-level scan to be performed in the midst of a volume scan. Now, new techniques called MESO-SAILS go even further, allowing the lowest elevation to be sampled three or even four times during a volume scan.
Earlier and More Accurate Weather Intelligence
We have provided the additional SAILS radar imagery for quite some time. But ours is a new approach to creating enhanced data products from the NWS data. So not only do Baron customers receive these additional scans, they also receive invaluable data products for more timely and accurate detection of flooding, hail, strong winds and potential tornadoes.
A Critical Time Advantage
In practical terms, how could the additional information be used?
Let’s say that a fast-moving tornado is approaching your area. A twister moving at 60 mph would cover a mile on the ground every minute. With older processing like that used by other vendors, you would only receive an updated location of the tornado every 5 minutes. The tornado would have moved 5 miles during that time.
However, by using MESO-SAILS, Baron would provide an update on the tornado’s location every 90 seconds on average, and sometimes less.
What Can I Expect
During severe weather the National Weather Service office may switch your local forecast office radar(s) into these new operating modes. These modes enables more frequent updates of radar imagery as storms approach.
It is critical that weather vendors support these modes, and Baron has been supporting the new imagery since its inception. The difference now is that we have begun generating value-added data products with each lowest-elevation scan. Ultimately, this means you will get new updates on severe weather products as fast as once every 72 seconds.
Additionally, we have tweaked the criteria for generating automated Baron Storm Tracks for severe storms, which filters out lesser storms to identify only those that are truly severe.
What Products Have Been Improved?
Here are the Baron-exclusive data products that are being updated more frequently.
- Baron rotating wind detection indicating likely tornado formation
- Baron Storm Tracks for Severe Storms containing high winds and hail
- Baron Storm Tacks for Rotating Storms that could likely produce a tornado
- Baron Button – a display of greatest threats: flooding, hail or wind
- Hail Detection
Baron is committed to providing the fastest and most accurate weather intelligence available. This new technology and updated the updated products are now available in all Baron products including Baron Threat Net and our API Cloud distribution service.