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Media Advisory: IHOP2002 Open House in the Oklahoma Panhandle

Radar, Weather Balloons, and More

David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

Keli Tarp
Telephone: 405-366-0451

Note to Editors: In addition to the Tuesday events below, eporters are invited to the IHOP2002 media day on Monday, May 13 at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, where the project aircraft are based. For more details, see the media advisory.

BOULDER—A rare concentration of high-tech weather sensors, assembled in the Oklahoma Panhandle for a massive weather experiment, will be open to the public on Tuesday, May 14. The open house will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at several locations (see map below).

Over 100 scientists and technicians will profile the water vapor that feeds heavy rain and thunderstorms across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as part of the International H20 Project (IHOP2002), which runs from May 13 to June 25. Thirty-some institutions are participating in the study, which is led by scientists from the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Field activities are being coordinated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which operates NCAR.

While the six aircraft fly in and out of Oklahoma City and forecasters track the weather from Norman, a battery of instruments will scan the skies between Perryton, Texas, and Beaver, Oklahoma. A few of the more noticeable ones are mentioned here.

  • S-Pol, an advanced dual-polarization Doppler radar developed at NCAR. Highly portable, the radar is packed in six 20-foot-long "seatainer" trailers and reassembled on site. By sending two signals, one oriented horizontally and one vertically, S-Pol can distinguish between rain and hail. The radar is being used to test capabilities that may be added to the National Weather Service's fleet of more than 100 Doppler radars nationwide. For IHOP2002, S-Pol will help researchers analyze water-vapor levels across the region.

  • NCAR’s Integrated Sounding System. The ISS combines radiosondes (weather balloons), a profiler (upward-pointing radar that tracks winds aloft), and a surface weather station.

  • NCAR’s Tethered Atmospheric Observing System. Like a giant weather-sensing kite, TAOS includes a balloon that flies as high as 3,300 feet, tied to the ground by an instrument-studded line with up to eight sensors attached at various heights.

Other instruments in the area will include the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Scanning Raman Lidar (laser-based radar) to measure water vapor and cloud qualities. From the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a 30-foot-long mobile home called Aeribago will feature a variety of instruments, including an interferometer that senses downwelling radiation and calculates low-level temperature and moisture every ten minutes. Also scattered across the Panhandle are a number of ground-based automated weather stations.

Vehicles with mobile Doppler radars and rooftop-mounted weather stations will be traversing the region according to each day's weather conditions. Unlike many weather studies held across the southern plains, IHOP2002 researchers are focusing on water vapor that precedes and fuels showers and thunderstorms, rather than trying to capture tornadoes or other severe weather.

On the Web:
IHOP home page
More on IHOP science
More on IHOP operations
IHOP2002 media day in OKC/Norman

Directions to the IHOP2002 open house

S-Pol: From Bryan’s Corner (intersection of U.S. 83 and 412), go 3 miles south, then 2.5 miles east. The radar is on the right (south) side at the top of a hill.

ISS (Homestead Site): Go 0.5 miles east of S-Pol, then 1 mile south and 9.5 miles east. Site is on the left (north) side.

TAOS: Go one mile east of the Homestead Site. Site is on the right (south) side.


-The End-



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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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Last revised: Wed May 8 16:00:33 MST 2002