While it’s a tough fight to call, some will say satellites have the edge, I have to give it to weather radars for being the final boss when it comes environmental remote sensing. For thirty years radars have been stoically monitoring the skies over America; Warning of us impending disasters, providing a realtime map for meteorologists, and dropping scientific breakthroughs like their hot.
For all their awesomeness though, working with the data can be challenging. At least for me, the biggest blockers aren’t the obvious technical hurdles, but the ol’ gray matter upstairs. Radial projections, aberrations from attenuation, and the daunting amounts of math one must traverse to get the data into something recognizable to humans can leave even the most intrepid data wranglers lost. Which brings to today’s topic, the ground truth I reach for when I’m debugging or testing models that look at radar data: Storm Prediction Center Hail Reports.