Project: Research radar investigations of convection

Developing advanced radar post-processing techniques to better understand convective-scale processes and improve their representation in models.

Numerical weather forecast models and climate models still have difficulties to accurately represent atmospheric convection, either explicitly in high-resolution versions or through the parameterization of processes acting at scales smaller than the grid scale of the model.

This project aims to derive observational references from advanced dual-polarization Doppler research radar observations to evaluate and inform improvements in the representation of convection in models. The other main aim of this project is to implement these research radar techniques for the Australian operational radar network, which will soon be upgraded with dual-polarization capabilities. Current activities in this project are to:

  • Develop dual-polarization radar techniques for calibration, quality control, clutter recognition, hydrometeor classification (including hail), rainfall estimation, and 3D wind retrieval
  • Transition research calibration tools to post-process operational radars returning uncorrected reflectivity (6 radars currently)
  • Evaluate the representation of convective rainfall in the suite of ACCESS forecast models using long-term CPOL observations
  • Characterize convective mass flux from CPOL and its variability as a function of the large-scale forcing in the Tropics to evaluate high-resolution models (collab. University of Melbourne) and inform a new cumulus parameterization (collab. Monash University)
  • Characterize precipitation properties over the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to inform NASA GPM satellite rainfall retrieval developments
  • Understand unusual development of the Kurnell tornado (15/12/2015 near Sydney) over ocean using 3D wind radar retrievals

Vertical velocity (colours) and wind retrieval (arrows) for the Kurnell tornado case (15/12/2015)


Alain Protat


  • Surendra Rauniyar
  • Valentin Louf
  • Michael Whimpey


  • Research Radar techniques delivered for operations
  • Understanding of convective-scale physical processes
  • ACCESS model evaluation and improvements

For more information
please contact Alain Protat,