UNT to Install Advanced Radar System Providing Improved Severe Weather Data, Storm Warnings

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, March 29, 2013

The University of North Texas  will install the advanced Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) radar on April 2 (Tuesday), which will provide improved severe weather data and storm warnings to the North Texas region, just in time for the 2013 tornado season. 

The radar will be installed at UNT’s Discovery Park campus, located at 3940 N. Elm St. in Denton

The radar is being brought to the region as part of a collaborative project among several universities and governmental organizations, including Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, the National Weather Service Office of Science and Technology, the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and the North Central Texas Council of Governments

The installation at UNT is part of a multi-sensor network, called the CASA DFW Urban Demonstration Network (CASA WX), that will help local emergency managers, National Weather Service forecasters and weather-sensitive industries save lives and reduce injuries and the economic costs of tornadoes, flash floods, hail and high-wind events. 

The radar system is the result of 10 years of National Science Foundation -funded research by the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere led by University of Massachusetts Amherst, with partners Colorado State University and University of Oklahoma.   

CASA radar provides data five to 10 times more detailed than current radar systems. The radar scans for storms at near-ground level, compared to higher-atmosphere scanning in current national radar systems. The CASA system can be aimed at and track a particular area of severe weather or concern, compared to current systems that have to scan 360 degrees.

Also, emergency managers, forecasters and others receive low level data only every four to five minutes from current systems. The CASA system will execute rapid scans and transmit data every minute, a difference than can be critical in life-threatening situations.

“The rapidly updating low level scans by CASA radars will be a great compliment to our existing radar displays,” said Greg Patrick, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Fort Worth. “Using CASA radar, our forecasters will have greater confidence on exactly where the most significant impacts will occur with any given storm.” 

UNT faculty members will have access to the CASA system’s data and will conduct research to better understand how this emerging technology can benefit future developments in emergency management, public administration, engineering, business and other fields. 

“Having ready access to CASA data will help UNT’s researchers be at the forefront of discovering how this state-of-the-art technology can improve our lives and our region,” said UNT’s Vice President of Research and Economic Development Kenneth Sewell.  

UNT Emergency Management staff will have access to the radar data for campus emergency preparedness as well. 

Future CASA radar installations in North Texas will take place in Addison, Fort Worth and four more locations yet to be identified.