E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology, Vol 7, No 2 (2012)

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Operational Uses of Spectrum Width

Patrick John Spoden, Ray A. Wolf, Leslie R. Lemon


Spectrum width is a WSR-88D product that has been available to operational forecasters since the radar was deployed.  In 2008, super-high-resolution reflectivity, velocity and spectrum width data became available.  Six cases exemplifying operational use of spectrum width are presented; five are from after the upgrade.  The cases were selected to depict the wide array of uses of spectrum width (SW).  In one case, use of SW improved forecaster capability to evaluate the strength of horizontal shear within a bow echo's mesovortex.  One case shows that SW can be extremely helpful in determining location of boundaries, which aids in overall situational awareness.  In another case, SW aided forecaster confidence to issue a tornado warning with lead time.  If a storm is close to the radar (55 km in this example), SW can be used to clarify the location of the rear flank downdraft, assess where its wind damage may be a threat, and discern subsequent cutoff of the tornado from the warm, moist inflow.  Finally, when used in a derecho case, SW helped a forecaster to identify more quickly where wind damage threats were likely.        

Full Text: PDF

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology | ISSN 1559-5404 | Some Rights Reserved