November 1, 2013 to November 21, 2013
Project Location: 
Project Description: 
Hawaiian Educational Radar Opportunity :: HERO

Principal Investigator :: Dr. Michael Bell
Where :: University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Department of Meteorology
When :: 1 -21 November 2013
Facility :: Doppler on Wheels (DOW) 



A three-week educational deployment of a polarimetric Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar was conducted at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa (UHM) from 22 October - 13 November 2013. The educational deployment of a mobile radar was the first of its kind in Hawai'i and on the island of O'ahu. The central focus of the Hawaiian Educational Radar Opportunity (HERO) was to give undergraduate and graduate students at UHM an opportunity for an intensive, hands-on radar education period. The deployment coincided with the first UHM offering of MET 628 \Radar Meteorology", which had an enrollment of 12 graduate students who led 16 intensive observing periods (IOPs) with the DOW. A total of approximately 50 participants including graduate students, undergraduate students, and National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters participated in radar training, forecasting, weather balloon launches, and radar deployments around the island. Three special course lectures and two Department seminars from renowned radar experts helped to augment the educational impact of the project. Extensive outreach to the community was also conducted, including a School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) Open House event with over 7,500 visitors from local K-12 schools and the public, a deployment visit from a school for students with learning disabilities, and positive radio, television, and newspaper media coverage.


The Hawaiian Islands have frequent tropical rain events, ranging from light trade wind showers to heavy orographic and synoptically forced rain and flash-flooding. O'ahu is a relatively small (71 x 48 km) island in the state, but has signifi cant mesoscale variability in rainfall due to the complex terrain of the Ko'olau and Wai'anae mountains. Doppler radar is one of the only meteorological tools available that can probe the three-dimensional precipitation and wind structure of tropical clouds, showers, thunderstorms and tropical cyclones with adequate spatial and temporal resolution to observe this variability. The island is located between two NWS Weather Surveillance Doppler (WSR-88D) radars located on Kaua'i and Moloka'i, but the distance from those islands limits the ability to observe precipitation below 1 km altitude and at sufficiently high spatial resolution for some research purposes. There is no permanent Doppler radar on O'ahu, despite the rainfall variability over a population of nearly one million people. Research radars also do not routinely visit the Hawaiian islands due to the distance from the mainland United States.

The importance of radar technology to both research and operational weather forecasting has continued to grow over the years, especially with the recent polarimetric upgrade of the WSR-88Ds completed in Spring 2013. While radar observations are included in many courses at UHM, a dedicated course on this principles and application of this technology was not available until Fall 2013 with the advent of MET 628 "Radar Meteorology". As part of the inaugural o ffering of MET 628, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Educational Deployment of the DOW was requested in order to maximize the educational value of the course. The deployment also o ffered an opportunity to provide fi and forecasting experience for interested undergraduate students, and allowed for broad exposure for the NSF facility to the public, including non-major UHM students and K-12 students. Native Hawaiians and Pacif c Islanders are underrepresented in the atmospheric sciences, and the chance to tour a high-tech weather radar was an exciting experience for several thousand Hawaii residents. 

>> Download the HERO Final Report