SPRINGFIELD, Mo. As we end 2019, KY3's Brandon Beck is looking back at a couple of the biggest advancements in weather technology over the last decade. Others in the meteorological community might have a different opinion, but here’s his.
Perhaps the greatest leap in our technology in detecting real-time weather is dual polarity Doppler radar. This is a step up from “regular” Doppler, which was introduced nation-wide in the early 1990s. “Dual-pol” radar, for short, alternates between horizontal and vertical pulses of energy. So, not only can we see the wind in a storm, we now can see the size and shape of what we’re hitting by comparing vertical and horizontal pulses. This allows us to “see” tornado debris, confirming tornadoes that we otherwise may not have known about. The first operational use of this technology in the United States occurred right here in the Ozarks in the Leap Day tornadoes of 2012.
The other major advancement: the new GOES (geostationary operational environmental satellite) 16 and 17, launched in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Compared to the ones they replaced, these satellites have five times more information, four times the resolution, and five times the update frequency. For instance, we get high-resolution images every five minutes and can watch thunderstorms develop in near real time. Prior to the new GOES, images were standard every 30 minutes. While we use them primarily to see cloud cover, they actually do a lot more. Click THIS LINK to learn more about what GOES satellites do!
Finally, perhaps the biggest advancement when it comes to weather this decade is how you get the information We first introduced the KY3 weather app in 2011. But the technology has grown and nearly everyone has a smart phone, so they have constant weather information, warnings, and radar in their purse or pocket! If you won’t have the app, get it now!