Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory, located in Norman, Oklahoma, recently unveiled the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, a $38 million research prototype for a system that, if successful, could be rolled out across the country within the next 20 years.
Located east of Norman’s Max Westheimer Airport, the system is the first to combine two weather prediction technologies: phased-array radar, which allows forecasters to look across a wide area more quickly than conventional radar allows, and dual polarization, which gives forecasters information about what type of precipitation is falling within a storm.
The project is a collaborative effort among a number of public agencies, private corporations and academic institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory and the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Oklahoma is a hub for radar research and business. Norman, Okla., and the University of Oklahoma’s Research Campus are home to the University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Radar Research Center (ARRC), the largest academic radar program in the nation, the National Weather Center, a major federal research center, and NOAA’s Severe Storms Center, which forecasts storms for the entire northern hemisphere.