Sunday, November 13, 2011

View from the DOW

Lots of you have been asking what it is like to look at storms with the DOW radar.

We spend a lot of time looking at what we call Range Height Indicator (RHI) scans, which are essentially vertical scans through the storm.

Here's one from today taken from our location just west of Daybreak through the mountains near the University of Utah.  We see very high radar reflectivities where the radar intersects the mountains, but also deeper and stronger radar reflectivities near and over the mountains, which usually is correlated with a higher precipitation rate.

In the low-levels over the valley and nearer the radar you can see that the radar reflectivity decreases near the ground.  This is likely because of the sublimation and evaporation of snow and rain as it falls into the dry low levels.  Such sub-cloud sublimation and evaporation is one of the causes of the climatological difference in precipitation between the mountains and valleys of Utah.

The color tables used in the DOW are designed for looking at intense midwest convection.  The orographic precipitation we get in Utah is a bit more subtle.  Hence, a bit of squinting is needed to pick out these features in the image above.

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