MIAMI -

The National Weather Service completed the Dual Polarization upgrade to the Miami Doppler radar Monday.  The radar was taken off-line last week for the upgrade but is now fully accessible and operational.

Currently, most of the Doppler radars across the country transmits and receives only horizontally oriented radio wave pulses and therefore can only measure the horizontal dimension of a cloud.  The new dual-polarization, or dual-pol radar, will be able to measure both the horizontal and vertical dimension of a cloud because it can transmit and receive both horizontal and vertical pulses. 

This will allow meteorologists to get a better idea of the size, shape and type of precipitation showing up on the radar.

This upgrade to dual-pol will add 14 products to the data that is already available with the current radar and will help the National Weather Service to better protect life and property.

According to the NWS, some of the benefits of dual-pol radar include:
- Improved accuracy of precipitation estimates, leading to better flood detection
- Ability to tell the difference between heavy rain and hail
- Improved detection of non-meteorological echoes like ground clutter, chaff, birds, etc.
- Detection of aircraft icing conditions
- Identification of the melting layer

The Doppler radars in Key West and Melbourne have already been updgraded with this technology.  Tampa's radar is scheduled to be upgraded between February 27th and March 11th. 

By the end of 2012, all the WSR-88Ds across the country will be upgraded to this new technology (WSR-88D stands for Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler).  The

If you want to learn more about the dual-polarization radar, you can read and take training courses online.