July 20, 2015 to July 29, 2015
Project Location: 
College Station, Texas
Project Description: 

Principle Investigators: Courtney Schumacher and Don Conlee
Where: Texas A&M University
When: 20-29 July 2015
Facility: Doppler on Wheels (DOW)



The DOW was requested to support multiple summer program educational objectives, including the NSF REU Site Atmospheric Sciences in the Gulf Coast Region, Youth Adventure Program Meteorology High School Camp, and the Summer Student Operational ADRAD Program (SOAP). The period of usage was July 20-29, 2015.

Deployment Procedures Summary by Program

Figure 1a. DOW7 deployment site near TAMU Galveston campus.


The first activity of the REU with the DOW was an introduction to the CSWR DOW program and capabilities given by Alycia Gilliland on the afternoon of 20 July. The DOW then proceeded with the group to the field site in Galveston, TX on 21 July. By middle afternoon, the DOW was set up and a rotation of all 15 students was set up for training in operation.

Over the next three days, the DOW was used to continue to allow students to experience radar operation.  This included a midday relocation to a more favorable site to capture bay-breeze related convection (Fig. 1), and a mobile deployment in conjunction with upper air launches (Fig. 2). The DOW was used to collect data, which will be processed into VAD wind profiles for comparison to a SODAR that was also obtained for the field experience. Students were rotated into the DOW in groups of three approximately every 1.5 hours during operation hours.

Figure 1b. DOW7 deployment site near TAMU Galveston campus.
Figure 2a. DOW7 deployment site near Alvin, TX.
Figure 2b. DOW7 deployment site near Alvin, TX.

Although the weather was not very cooperative in terms of seeing a traditional sea breeze and characterizing the sea breeze front and associated convection (Fig. 3), the DOW presence was key to an impactful field experience for the REU cohort. Students were exposed to multiple scan strategies, including adjustments to PRF, pulse length, and elevation angles. Owing to the lack of deep convection or precipitation during the campaign, particular emphasis was placed on clear-air methods for detecting boundary-layer convection (horizontal convective rolls) in the vicinity (Fig. 4). The DOW returned to College Station on 25 July to set up for the next usage.

Figure 3. PPI at 1.0 degree of reflectivity and RHIs of reflectivity, KDP, and ZDR from 21 July 2015 from Galveston Island.
Figure 4. PPIs at 1.5 degrees of clear air return near Alvin, TX on 23 July 2015.

Youth Adventure Program (YAP) Meteorology CAMP

Wednesday, 29 July was the RADAR day for our YAP camp, combining a field deployment of DOW with usage of our own fixed S-Band Radar, ADRAD (Fig. 5). Two factors shaped our utilization of DOW for that day in execution:  First, DOW had experienced a major failure of systems, enabling no storage of collected data and limiting operation to approximately a 30 degree pie wedge facing the rear of the truck. Second, the weather continued to offer little to no appropriate targets. The decision was made to use DOW in the morning mostly in a show-and-tell mode, but utilizing the mast observations in conjunction with in-situ instruments at different heights manned by the high school students. This allowed DOW to begin its trip home a little earlier, which was favorable to the schedule of Ms. Gilliland. RADAR day continued in the hot afternoon with ADRAD.

Although DOW system failures limited its utility for YAP, the presence of the DOW did increase the impactfulness of our camp program. We received favorable comments from the students even though they did not get to see significant operation.

Figure 5a. YAP campers on Texas A&M campus.
Figure 5b. YAP campers on Texas A&M campus.

Summer SOAP Program

Although the formal portion of the Summer SOAP hands-on student research program ended prior to DOW arrival (we would have asked for earlier arrival but PECAN limited earliest availability), two activities provided opportunities for a portion of the students of this program to engage with the DOW. First, three of the SOAP students joined the REU cohort for the field experience, getting all the same benefits of working with the DOW. Second, a time was set up for an “open truck” that was available to SOAP students remaining in town, and a few were indeed able to get a DOW introduction.

“Open Truck” opportunities and Outreach

The DOW was set up in a relatively open parking lot on the edge of campus on three evenings, allowing for current and former students, as well as faculty and their families, to tour the radar. The Atmospheric Sciences Corporation SODAR was also operating next to DOW for visitors to have an explanation. During these three evenings, approximately 20 students, 4 faculty, and several family members and friends were able to see the DOW in operation. By the 3rd evening, the aforementioned system failures had reduced the DOW operation considerably, but for the purposes of this event, this did not have significant impact.

Individuals Reached by DOW

  • NSF REU:  12 students, 3 instructors
  • YAP Summer CAMP:  12 students, 3 counselors, 3 ATMO TAMU student helpers c.  SOAP:  5 students
  • Open DOW:  20 TAMU students, 4 faculty, 10 friends and family members:  34 total.
  • Outreach of opportunity:  2 citizens and one sherrif’s deputy stopped to inquired and received information on the Dow.  The deputy was intensely interested and received a full tour.
  • In total, approximately 75 individuals experienced the DOW on this deployment.

​>> Download the TAMU DOW Summary Report