WHNT-TV and the University of Alabama in Huntsville have joined forces to transform a decommissioned radar system at Huntsville International Airport into a dual-polarity Doppler radar system.
Once complete, the refurbished radar system will provide the station with one of the most powerful weather radar systems available. It will also give researchers and educators at the university a top-notch meteorological tool to study the weather.
The New York Times, which owns WHNT-TV in Huntsville, AL, is spending $425,000 to convert the old Doppler radar unit into a dual-polarity system. The new system is capable of penetrating storms better than conventional radar, giving forecasters more detail about what’s happening inside a storm.
Dual-polarity radar not only allows the station to better inform its viewers of severe weather conditions, but it also propels Huntsville into a position to develop lifesaving weather monitoring technology.
Dual-polarity radar waves are transmitted on two axes, rather than one. The reflected radar signals provide a more detailed picture of weather conditions, such as distinguishing between hail and rain.
The system is even sensitive enough to study clear weather phenomenon like the wind patterns that exist before a thunderstorm develops.
SIGMET in Westford, MA, manufactures the dual-polarization radar conversion.