WW2010
University of Illinois

WW2010
 
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Online Guides
 
  introduction
 
  meteorology
 
> remote sensing
 
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  projects, activities

Remote Sensing
 
  introduction
 
> radars
 
  satellites

Radars
 
  introduction
 
  radar basics
 
> imagery
 
  velocity patterns
 
  applications

Imagery
 
  wsr-88d
 
  mdr images
 
> bright band feature

User Interface
 
  graphics
> text

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Reflectivity Features
bright band

Precipitation typically forms high in the atmosphere where the temperature is below freezing. As ice crystals form aloft and fall toward the surface, they collect each other to form large snowflakes. As the snowflakes fall, they pass through a level where the temperature rises above freezing. When the snowflakes start to melt, they initially develop a water coating. Water is about 9X more reflective than ice at microwave wavelengths, so these large wet snowflakes produce a high reflectivity.

[Image: bright band in reflectivity field (121K)]
Image by: NWS

As the flakes continue to fall and melt, they collapse into rain drops. The rain drops are smaller and fall faster, so both the size of the particles and their concentration are reduced, reducing the radar reflectivity. All of these processes lead to the formation of a narrow ring of high reflectivity near the melting level. This ring, called the "bright band", can be seen on the image above.



mdr images
Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Velocity Patterns