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Doppler Velocity Display (circa 1975) A classic Doppler mesocylone signatureStill image:
Size: 3388 x 2027
Acquisition: Graphic, Scanned illustration
Frame rate: still
Clearance: No releases required
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
License: Royalty Free
Usage: Creative and Editorial
Point of view: Ground in scene
Geography: Rural
Still images available: Y
Keywords:   Supercells, Weather Explanations, Displays and analyses, Thunderstorm, Tornado, Weather Forecasting, Weather Radar
Asset ID: 5404
Title: Doppler Velocity Display (circa 1975)
Concept: A classic Doppler mesocylone signature
Detail: The color coding on the NSSL prototype Doppler radar shows the Doppler velocity information. Keep in mind, Doppler cannot see wind per se, but only precipitation sized particles or other targets moving with a wind. Thus, only within rainstorms can velocity determination be made. In this case, various colors do not indicate the rainfall rate, but whether or not the rain drops are moving away from or toward the radar. In general the blues correspond to rain moving towards the radar and the reds indicate rain moving away from the radar. Note however, a small cluster of yellow at the near southwest flank of the storm. It is immediately adjacent to a orange-red cluster. This the classic signature of a small, rapidly rotating vortex - the tornado cyclone which gives rise to the actual tornado itself. Here velocities in yellow are moving toward the observer at over 60 mph, and only a mile or two to the northeast, droplets are moving away from the observer at roughly the same velocities. This intense rotation is buried deep within the heart of the supercell. Extensive tests at NSSL verified it was routinely possible to detect the tornado cyclone rotation on the average about 20 minutes before the first visible tornado appears near the ground. This significantly increased the lead time in the issuance of tornado warnings. And in the 1970s, since it usually took 10 to 15 minutes for tornado warnings to be composed, disseminated, and reach the public, one can see why conventional tornado warnings, which were usually based on the actual observation of a tornado, often reached the victims after they were struck. Doppler radar gave us the means for more timely warning of a tornado.

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