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Radar Data Conversion

MDR Radar Conversion

The radar conversion program radcvt reads the Manually Digitized Radar (MDR) data and decodes the echo reports for each radar site and compiles them into a radar summary. The domestic data feed does provide a radar summary but that has been only a recent addition and is broadcast at the end of the hour. Also, the summaries did not give the following information:

  • ID -- station identifier
  • COVER -- precipitation coverage
  • PTYPE -- precipitation type (rain, snow, thunderstorms)
  • PTREND -- precipitation trend (increasing, decreasing, no change)
  • MAXTOP -- maximum precipitation tops
  • MOVE -- precipitation area and cell movement

This information is appended to the radar summary in the decoded file so that annotated summaries may be created. The MDR reports are taken at 35 minutes past each hour and broadcast on the DD+ data circuit within ten minutes following observation.

RCM Radar Conversion

RCM (Radar Coded Messages) are available on NOAAPORT and provides radar echo data on a grid 4 times the resolution of the MDR grid (1/4th MDR grid) or roughly 12km resolution (NIDS is 1km, NOWRad is 2km). The radar conversion program takes these RCMs and decodes them and compiles a radar summary. The RCMs include storm attribute information which is also included in the converted file:

  • ID -- storm identifier
  • TOPS -- echo tops
  • MOVE -- storm movement
  • HAIL -- hail probability
  • TVS -- Tornado Vortex Signature location
  • MESO -- Mesocyclone location

RCM data is broadcast twice an hour (:15 and :45) and can be decoded within 10 minutes of observation.


For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on July 21, 1998