One current effort to establish an urban testbed as described in this and earlier NRC reports is being carried out by an NSF Engineering Research Center on Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area. The mission of CASA is to develop and deploy networks of low-cost, X-band, dual-polarimetric Doppler radars dedicated to enhance our ability to observe, understand, predict, and respond to hazardous weather events. The close spacing of these radars gives them the ability to scan low to the ground with very high spatial and temporal resolution (McLaughlin et al., 2009). The project, known as the Dallas-Fort Worth Urban Demonstration Network, is an end-to-end testbed that has the primary goal of improving the detection, prediction, and warning of hazardous weather including flash flooding, severe winds, and tornadoes in a densely populated urban environment. Additional goals include very-high resolution analysis/modeling to resolve street level weather and urban canyon wind flow, improved transport and dispersion forecasts of pollutants, improved understanding of the effects of an urban area on its surroundings, and the evaluation of various observing systems for potential national deployment.
The DFW testbed is a joint venture between the University of Massachusetts, Colorado State University, and the University of Oklahoma, and includes local stakeholders, such as the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the emergency management community, and regional forecast offices. It will embrace the vision of the Network of Networks report (NRC, 2009)—to deploy and/or access a wide array of sensors, including WSR-88D, TDWR, and CASA radars, local surface networks, profilers, aircraft and satellite data that will be used for the creation of added-value products and assimilated for model prediction. Regional
1 The University of Oklahoma.
2 University of Massachusetts.
analysis and forecast products will be operated in real time and made available to partner stakeholders. Initially, 8 X-band radars from the CASA partners will supplement the existing WSR-88D and two TDWR radars (see Figure B.1), with the first 4 being moved to the DFW area from the CASA IP1 testbed in southwestern Oklahoma by late Fall 2011. It is expected that other observing assets will be provided or financed by other federal, state, and metropolitan agencies that will benefit from a densely observed urban complex. Additional partners may include instrument vendors and numerous local industries such as the transportation, media, defense, and energy sectors.
FIGURE B.1 An example radar layout for the Dallas-Ft. Worth Urban Demonstration Network.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is an ideal location for such a demonstration testbed. The DFW area population is over 6.5 million, the 4th largest in the U.S., and is the fastest growing major metropolitan area in the country, adding nearly 1.3 million since 2000. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to two major airports, including DFW, the third busiest airport in the world, numerous regional airports, several major interstates and many large sports complexes. Its Gross Metro Product is near $400B, which is attractive for commercial partners seeking markets for value-added products. It experiences a wide range of hazardous weather and air quality in all four seasons, and is also vulnerable to local flooding. Its area of 9,286 square miles gives it a spatial dimension important for numerical weather prediction capability.
The Urban Demonstration Network will be funded and operated by a consortium of local and federal government and private sector partners. CASA is the lead institution and is investing over $2.5 million into the initial radar systems, deployment, and real-time operations. The North Central Texas Council of Governments will take the lead locally, providing operational support and recruiting area partners. Other partners include government agencies such as the National Weather Service, specifically its Southern Region and Fort Worth Forecast Office, and local universities such as the University of Texas at Arlington. Additional partners will include those mentioned above who may enhance the observing networks.
In addition to providing high-spatial, high-temporal radar and other data to users in real time for warning operations, the DFW testbed is expected to be the ideal research platform, with major research thrusts including convective initiation, quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE)/quantitative precipitation forecasting (QPF), fusion of, for example, satellite and radar data, urban hydrology, and urban-scale numerical modeling and data assimilation. This research will also help the NWS achieve its warn-on-forecast vision (NRC, 2010). It is hoped that the DFW Urban Demonstration Network, through its multi-university, cross-disciplinary partnerships and university-government-private sector collaborations, will provide a model for how other metropolitan areas can invest in observational consortiums for operational and research missions that benefit public safety and economic security.
McLaughlin, D., D. Pepyne, V. Chandrasekar, B. Philips, J. Kurose, M. Zink, K. Droegemeier, S. Cruz-Pol, F. Junyent, J. Brotzge, D. Westbrook, N. Bharadwaj, Y. Wang, E. Lyons, K. Hondl, Y. Liu, E. Knapp, M. Xue, A. Hopf, K. Kloesel, A. DeFonzo, P. Kollias, K. Brewster, R. Contreras, T. Djaferis, E. Insanic, S. Frasier, and F. Carr. 2009. Short-wavelength technology and the potential for distributed networks of small radar systems. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90(12):1797-1817. Figure courtesy of Cedar League, Colorado State University.
NRC (National Research Council). 2009. Observing Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NRC. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.