NOAA/National Weather Service's Warning Decision Training BranchUnited States Department of Commerce
Commerce Learning Center

Important Note: This course has officially been retired

This page (and its contents) remain available, but the content of these courses may not be updated. Future changes to the WSR-88D system, including changes to the dual-polarization technology, will be reflected in WDTD's other operator training. These training include WSR-88D build release training and the Radar & Applications Course. Links below point to the most recent training from those courses, when applicable.

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Warning Decision Training Division

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Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners > Warning Decision Training Division > Courses > Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners



As of the Spring of 2013, the entire fleet of WSR-88Ds (Weather Surveillance Radar -1988 Doppler) has received a major software and hardware upgrade. This upgrade, known as dual-polarization technology, has greatly enhanced these radars by providing the ability to collect data on the horizontal and vertical properties of weather (e.g., rain, hail) and non-weather (e.g., insect, ground clutter) targets.

In support of this technology upgrade, WDTD has developed on-line training to help NWS partners learn about the system changes and provide ideas on how they might effectively incorporate these new data into their decision making process. Two different training paths (click on the panels belows to see details) are available depending on your meteorology background:

Training for Meteorologists Not Employed by the National Weather Service

To support trained meteorologists outside the NWS, on-line lessons from the Dual-Polarization Operations Course for NWS forecasters have been made available.


Overview Lesson:

Course Introduction

Product Lessons:

Correlation Coefficient (CC)
Differential Reflectivity (ZDR)
Specific Differential Phase (KDP)
Hydrometeor Classification (HC)
Melting Layer (ML)
Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE)

Application Lessons:

Winter Weather Precipitation Type Nowcasting
Dual-Pol Hail Analysis
Applied Performance Drills: Severe Hail
Supercell Morphology: Dual-Pol WSR-88D Signatures
Applied Performance Drills: Supercell Signatures
Analyzing Tornadic Scale Signatures
Applied Performance Drills: Tornadic Debris Signature
Tornado Warning Guidance 2015: Can We Assess Tornado Intensity?
Assessing Updraft Strength and Location Using Polarimetric Radar Data
Applied Performance Drills: Identifying the ZDR Column
Flash Flood Meteorology
Non-Precipitation Echo Detection

Dual-Pol Storm of the Month Webinars:

February 2012: Transitioning Precipitation over Long Island
April 2012: Leap Day 2012 Tornadoes
June 2012: Central New York Hailstorm
July 2012: Small Hail, Big Impacts, and Dual-Pol's Added Value
August 2012: Fire and Rain
September 2012: How Wet Can Wet Hail Get?
March 2013: Using Dual-Pol to Interpret Non-precipitation Echoes
April 2013: Challenges of Using QPE Operationally


Spreadsheet containing NWS Radar Product Color Tables (Excel Spreadsheet)
Archive containing NWS color tables for GR2Analyst conventional and dual-polarization base products (ZIP file)
WSR-88D Dual-Polarization Radar Decision Aid (Hydrometeor-based tool)
Dual-Polarization Quick Reference Guide for Media (PDF)

Training for Non-Meteorologists Who Use WSR-88D Radar Data

The following lessons were developed to help non-meteorologists who rely on WSR-88D data to make weather-related decisions. These lessons are available in a streaming format that uses Adobe Flash Player and can be viewed using the links below. We recommend that students attempt these lessons no more than 1 month prior to the installation of dual-polarization technology at their local WSR-88D site.