October 21, 2009 to November 18, 2009
Project Location: 
West Lafayette, Indiana
Project Description: 

Doppler on Wheels Research Radar at Purdue :: DROPS

Principal Investigator :: Dr. Jeff Trapp
Where:: Purdue University
When :: 21 October - 18 November 2009
Facility :: Doppler On Wheels

Dr. Jeff Trapp, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) at Purdue University, requested one of the CSWR mobile weather research radars for deployment to West Lafayette, Indiana from October 21 through November 18, 2009.

Education Component

The Doppler on Wheels was at the Purdue campus to support an EAS Radar Meteorology course offered to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

As part of this course, students were introduced to the components and operation of a research radar. Small student teams planned several research projects related to the occurrence of isolated severe and non-severe thunderstorms, mesoscale convective systems, frontal rainbands and lake-effect snowfall.

Lab exercises were devoted to devising radar deployment and sampling strategies, which also served to reinforce lecture material. During a serious of opportunistic events, student teams operated the DOW to collect radar data on a variety of precipitating weather systems in different data acquisition modes. Data were analyzed as part of student group projects and presented at the end of the semester. During the project, individual students groups were also responsible for forecasting target areas, planning the mission, and deciding upon-and modifying as needed-the sampling strategy. Other student groups, involving students from a Team Weather Forecasting course, provided nowcasting support.

Outreach Component

The Purdue EAS departmental outreach used DOW demonstrations as a focal point for student activities during the 2009‐2010 school year. Purdue will also develop a Radar Education Kit for classroom teachers to be added to the Purdue Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (KEAS) program. This program allows K‐12 teachers to check out kits for classroom instruction at no cost to the teacher or participating school. Once the Radar Education Kit is developed, it will available to thousands of educators.

See the DROPS 1 Facility Request.

DROPS Images


Lessons Learned

  • Deployment Duration: It was extremely beneficial to have the DOW for an entire month. The alternative would've been to have a 1 or 2 week project, which as it turned out, would've been a success, or a failure, depending on which week(s) we had the DOW. The PI would only consider a project with a similar duration.
  • Training: Student training was key, it helped empower and engage the students. The DOW arrived on campus a few days early to review operations with the PI, as well as train the students. It would have been much less successful if the PI or a DOW staff member was the only one at the DOW controls.

Read the complete DROPS 1 Final Report.