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Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners

NOTE: As of June 30, 2013, the Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners is "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.


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. The NOAA Communications and External Affairs Office has put together a list of frequently asked questions about dual-polarization technology that may help NWS partners better understand the benefits of this upgrade.

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. These lessons, as well as an introduction on all the material, 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 3 months prior to the installation of dual-polarization technology at their local WSR-88D site.

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
Severe Hail
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


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

Storm of the Month Archived Webinars:


October 2011: Hurricane Irene: Tropical Nature of ZDR and Tornadic Debris Signatures
November 2011: The Arizona Monsoon: Water and Dust!
December 2011: Precipitation Types: Dual-Pol's Added Value During Winter Events


January 2012: Diagnosing Hydrometeors at Radar Beam Level in Real Time Using the WDTD Dual-Pol Radar Decision Aid
February 2012: Tri-State Winter Storm: Transitioning Precipitation over Long Island
March 2012: Tornadic Debris Signature (TDS) Application in Weak QLCS and Stronger Supercell Events
April 2012: Leap Day 2012 Tornadoes across Southwest Missouri
May 2012: An Evolution of Recognizing and Communicating the TDS during Warning Operations
June 2012: Central New York Hailstorm: An Analysis of Hail and Updraft Signatures
July 2012: Small Hail, Big Impacts, and Dual-Pol's Added Value
August 2012: Fire and Rain: A Closer Look at the Little Bear Wildfire
September 2012: How Wet Can Wet Hail Get?
October 2012: Fall River, MA, Flash Flood of September 5, 2012
November 2012: Extreme Rainfall Event of August 25, 2012
December 2012: Winter Weather Operational Applications


January 2013: The Christmas Day Wanna Be Blizzard
February 2013: Dual-Pol Winter Applications to Aviation Weather
March 2013: Non-Precipitation Echoes Across Coastal South Carolina and Georgia
April 2013: The Challenges of Using QPE Operationally
May 2013: Intense Rainfall and Hail in Las Vegas

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.

Dual-Polarization Technology OverviewClick here to download the Dual-Polarization Technology Overview Presentation for Local Viewing
Best Uses for the Hydrometeor Classification ProductClick here to download the Hydrometeor Classification Presentation for Local Viewing
Best Uses for the Dual-Polarization Estimated Rainfall Amount ProductsClick here to download the Estimated Rainfall Amount Presentation for Local Viewing


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Page Author: WDTD Webmaster
Page last modified: October 30, 2018 14:54

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