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Preliminary report of USGS Radar Requirements: Multifunction Phased Array (MPAR) Working Group, March 20-21, 2007 David Schneider U.S. Geological Survey.

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Presentation on theme: "Preliminary report of USGS Radar Requirements: Multifunction Phased Array (MPAR) Working Group, March 20-21, 2007 David Schneider U.S. Geological Survey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preliminary report of USGS Radar Requirements: Multifunction Phased Array (MPAR) Working Group, March 20-21, 2007 David Schneider U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory Anchorage, AK 907-786-7037 U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

2 USGS Natural Hazards Mandate  USGS has a statutory responsibility to issue warnings of natural hazards as mandated by the Stafford Act of 1974.  The Director of the Geological Survey, through the Secretary of the Interior, has been delegated the responsibility to issue disaster warnings “...for an earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, or other geologic catastrophe.”  This briefing will focus on the utility of radar data in the mitigation of Volcano and Landslide hazards.

3 USGS Geologic Hazards Programs  Earthquake Hazards  $51.4 M and 220 FTE  Volcano Hazards  $21.6 M and 127 FTE  Landslide Hazards  $3.3 M and 20 FTE  Global Seismological Network  $3.9 M and 5 FTE  Geomagnetism  $2.0 M and 14 FTE

4 Distribution of U.S. volcanoes and USGS Volcano Observatories Ground and Aviation Hazards Primarily Aviation Hazards

5 Volcanic Ash Hazard  Airborne ash poses a severe hazard to aircraft and prompt ash cloud detection and warning is crucial.  Significant ash fall hazard to people and infrastructure.  Mitigation of the aviation and ground hazards are a shared responsibility of the USGS (the volcano) and the NWS (the atmosphere).  Existing monitoring methods cannot, by themselves, unambiguously detect explosive eruptions.  Capabilities for eruption detection and observation are improved through use of radar. WSR-88D Augustine, 2006

6 USGS Volcano Radar Experience  Weather radars have helped the USGS to monitor and confirm explosive volcanic activity at several eruptions in the past 27 years.  Mount St. Helens, Washington, 1980  (WSR-74C: NWS and FAA: Seattle, Spokane).  Pinatubo, Philippines, 1991  (AN/FPS-77: Clark AFB and AN/FPS-106: Cubi Point NAS).  Mount Spurr, Alaska, 1992  (WR 100-2 C: NWS lease).  Popocatepetl, Mexico 1997-1999  (Kavouras Triton C-band: USGS).  Augustine, Alaska, 2006  (WSR-88D: FAA).

7 USGS VolcRad (MiniMax 100C)  Currently being built by EEC  C-band Doppler; 6’ dish; 250 watts.  For tactical deployment at restless volcanoes.  Maximum range for detection of eruption columns ~ 100 km.  Rapid sector volume scans (30 s).   Advantages   Coverage where WSR-88D is not available or too distant.   Operational control and rapid scan capability.   Ability to merge radar data with other geophysical data streams.   Autonomous operation with alarm.

8 Information Needs (Ideal Case)  Eruption column height (frequently over time).  Column shape (i.e. mushroom, plume).  Time evolution (ascent and dispersion).  Water content of the column (esp. ice formation).  Vertical mass distribution (over time).  Estimate of particle size.  Velocity and turbulence within the column.

9 USGS Volcano needs under MPAR (B=baseline, O=optimal)  Radar  Temporal resolution: 1 min (B); 10 sec (O) for short bursts.  Beam resolution: 2 km (B); 250 m (O).  “Sensitivity”: Ability to image eruption columns (+65 dBZ) and drifting fine-grained ash clouds (-10 dBZ) without changing modes (O).  Dual-polarization to differentiate ash from hydrometeors (B).  Geographical Coverage  WSR-88D sites (B); Eliminate gaps in Aleutians and Northern Marianas (O).  Data Availability  Reflectivity, velocity, spectrum width  Delivery to volcano observatories: 5 min (B); near real-time (O).  Complete archive of US and it territories (B).

10 Additional Information  USGS Volcano Hazards Program (  “An Assessment of Volcanic Threat and Monitoring Capabilities in the United States: Framework for a National Volcano Early Warning System” (

11 Landslide Potential of the Conterminous United States Very High High Moderate

12 Landslide Hazard Program  Produces landslide-hazard and debris-flow assessments.  Researches landslide and debris-flow processes.  Develops and deploys instruments to monitor and forecast threatening landslides and debris-flows.  Near-real-time monitoring systems in California, near Yosemite NP, Portand and Newport,Oregon.  Responds to landslide emergencies and assists Federal, State, and local agencies.  USGS LHP works in conjunction with the NWS to issue advisories and press releases concerning potential activity.

13 Landslide Program Use of Radar Data  NOAA-USGS demonstration flash-flood and debris- flow early-warning system.  Focus on recently burned areas of Southern California.  NWS utilizes WSR-88D, rain gauges, and satellite techniques to predict and monitor precipitation.  National Severe Storms Laboratory SMART-R portable radar utilized to fill WSR88-D gaps and improve spatial resolution.  Research utilizing Level III WSR88-D data to determine rainfall intensity-duration thresholds for landslide generation through analysis of past events.

14 NOAA-USGS Debris-Flow Warning System WSR-88D Rain Gauges

15 USGS Landslide needs under MPAR (B=baseline, O=optimal)  Radar Precipitation Product  Temporal resolution: 30 min (B); 10 min (O).  Spatial resolution: 2 km 2 grid (B); 100 m 2 grid (O).  Dual-polarization to improve accuracy (B).  Geographical Coverage  WSR-88D sites (B); Eliminate coverage gaps in highly urbanized environments with high landslide potential (O).  Data Availability  Delivery to USGS: Near real-time as collected (B).  Complete archive of US and it territories (B).

16 Additional Information  USGS Landslide Hazards Program (  Landslide Hazards Program 5-Year Plan 2006-2010 (

17 Additional Work  Determine whether USGS Water Resources Discipline has any MPAR requirements.  Work with other DOI agencies (NPS, BLM, USF&W) to develop a Department level needs assessment.

18 Questions?

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