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Slide 2 - Atmospheric Profile
Radar Refraction Analysis
January 8, 2008 - 6 PM CST

Note: Atmospheric Profiles are Included to Properly Interpret Radar Data.

Atmospheric Profile Showing Strong Temperature Inversion.

Atmospheric Profile - Ft. Worth, Texas - 6 PM CST - January 8, 2008
(Note: When Temperture and Dewpoint Lines Join the Humidity is 100%)

  • Profile Shows Strong Temperature Inversion With Top Near 7,500 Feet

  • Normally Temperatures Decrease With Height

  • When Temperatures Increase With Height an "Inversion" is Present

  • At the Top of a Temperature Inversion a "Super Refraction" of Radar Waves May Occur.

  • Super Refraction Can Cause the Radar to Pick Up Ground Targets (e.g. Cars)

  • Visible Light Can Also Be Refracted by Inversions Resulting in "Mirages"

  • The Winds Were From the Northwest Below About 25,000 Feet

  • Above 25,000 Feet The Winds Were West to Southwesterly

Graphic Showing Potential for Super Refraction of Radar Waves in the Atmosphere.
Graphic Showing Potential for Refraction of Radar Waves in the Atmosphere.

  • Graphic is Based on Atmospheric Profile Above

  • Atmospheric Height Increases Left to Right

  • Lower Numbers (Longer Blue Bars in Above Graphic) Show Higher Potential For Super Refraction (Downward Bending) of Radar Waves

  • For Land Stations Radar Index (Change/1,000 FT) The Average Value is -12

  • Radar Index Values < -24 Are Considered Favorable For Super Refraction of Radar Waves

  • Refraction Index is Very Strong at 4,900 FT (-40) & 5,300 FT (-25)

  • Super Refraction (Downward Bending) of Radar Waves Could Occur For Targets < 5,300 FT

  • This Indicates a Possibility That Radar Could Pick up Ground Targets at a Distance
    • Ground Target Detection Unlikely Because All Indices > -49