Professor to Teach National TV Meteorologists Latest in Weather Radar Developed at Colorado State University

Note to Editors: Reporters wanting to attend the conference should call Emily Wilmsen by the end of the day Tuesday, June 24.

A Colorado State University professor on Wednesday will teach a short course in Denver for TV meteorologists on the latest in weather radar developed at Colorado State.

Professor V. "Chandra" Chandrasekar will teach the nationwide audience of broadcast meteorologists a course on dual-polarization radars preceding the American Meteorological Society’s 36th Conference on Broadcast Meteorology.

Dual-polarization radar is the latest technology to be used by forecasters to warn the public about developing severe weather and will be adopted as the new National Weather Service standard starting in 2009.

Dual-polarization works by transmitting and receiving both horizontal and vertical radiation. This technique allows better discrimination of particle shapes, which means more accurate information can be gathered on rain and hail, snowflakes and other particles in clouds. Colorado State University installed this radar earlier this spring at its CHILL radar facility near Greeley – the first time this type of antenna technology has been installed on a weather radar anywhere in the world.

The radar has the capability of seeing a single hail stone in the atmosphere more than 10 miles away.

"Dual-polarization weather radars have become a key operational tool for forecasters and many TV stations will upgrade to dual-polarization systems," Chandra said. "The goal of the course is to provide sufficient background on the principles and applications of dual-polarized weather radars with introduction to advanced topics such as hydrometeor classification and rainfall estimation."

Broadcasters will get demonstrations of the radar and hands-on experience at the course.

"We are very excited to have Dr. Chandra bring his expertise to our conference," said Mike Alger, chief meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, Nevada, and chairman of the AMS Broadcast Conference in Denver. "Since the meteorological world began using radar for weather applications, there have only been a few ‘major leaps’ in the basic technology. Applying Doppler Shift principals is one well-known advancement. We believe that advancements in Dual Polarization technology could be the next big jump ahead in weather radar technology. Dr. Chandra is recognized as one of the world’s top experts in the field, and we welcome the opportunity to gain from his experience."

Chandra has more than 25 years experience working with the technology. Most recently, he has used the radar as part of testing a sophisticated network of radars in Oklahoma’s tornado alley to improve early warning systems for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms The radars are in or near Chickasha, Lawton and Cyril and Rush Springs, Okla., and Colorado State faculty and students monitor the radars 24 hours a day, seven days a week from computers in the College of Engineering.

In 2003, Colorado State teamed with universities across the nation in the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, or CASA, to develop a network of radar systems. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is the lead institution. The radar system in the Oklahoma test bed is the result of a multidisciplinary collaborative effort among all of CASA’s partners: Colorado State, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Puerto Rico.