generation weather surveillance radar system. The findings and recommendations summarized herein deal with technologies having the potential to mitigate some of the limitations of the evolving NEXRAD system. For many of the approaches, and certainly for those categorized as “far-term” or “visionary,” technical feasibility remains to be established. In most cases benefit-cost evaluations will have to precede any move toward implementation in the design of the future system. The committee encourages the agencies that commissioned this study to follow through with the investigations necessary to establish the technical feasibility of the “far-term” and “visionary” technologies and to conduct benefit-cost analyses of the feasible ones.

The success of the findings and recommendations summarized herein will depend critically on the development of a parallel end-state user process (i.e., extending beyond the hydrologist or meteorologist) that defines needs in user contexts. The committee believes that without this user check and balance system, the best plans for the future could produce scientific and technical value, but could be of limited user value. Likewise, the concept of computer augmentation and decision support is fundamental to this end process. The complexities of an integrated observing system, and the four-dimensional sorting thereof for specific user needs, may require sophisticated routines that provide for decision support systems.


The findings and recommendations of this committee are summarized here in two groups. The first group concerns those technical approaches considered most promising for the development of future weather radar systems, and is presented in order of our estimate of their maturity (starting with the most mature) of the various approaches.


The current NEXRAD (WSR-88D) system, a highly capable weather surveillance radar, has proved to be of great value to many sectors of our society, and its applications have extended beyond the traditional goal of protecting life and property. The Radar Operation Center and the NEXRAD Product Improvement Program mechanisms have provided an evolutionary process for improvements to the system.

Recommendation—Near-term (Chapter 2)

The Radar Operation Center and the NEXRAD Product Improvement Pro gram mechanisms should be extended to permit continual improvement to the NEXRAD system. Provisions should be made to carry features found to be beneficial, such as polarization diversity, over to the succeeding generation of systems.

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