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NAME

rad - Radar display program

SYNOPSIS

rad [parameters...] filename

PARAMETERS

Command Line Resource Default Description
-h help No Lists basic help information.
-df=filename default .wxpdef Sets the name of the resource file.
-na=name name rad Specifies the name used in resource file parsing.
-ba batch No Run program in batch mode
-me=level message out2 Specifies level of messages to be displayed
  • file information - mess
  • watch box details - out3
-fp=filepath file_path current directory Specifies location of database files.  
-dp=datapath data_path current directory Specifies the location (path) of the input raw data files which includes front files. This may be modified in the name convention file.
-cp=conpath con_path current directory Specifies the location (path) of the input surface converted data files. This may be modified in the name convention file.
-rp=rawpath raw_path current directory Specifies the location of the output raw files generated by the program. These files will not be generated unless the out_file resource is specified and the output is plotted data.
-gp=gridpath grid_path current directory Specifies the location of the output grid files generated by the program. These files are not generated unless the out_file resource is specified and the output is a gridded field.
-ip=imagepath image_path current directory Specifies the default location of the output GIF images generated by the program.
-nc=name_conv name_conv name_conv The name convention file specifies how files are named in WXP. This sets which name convention file to use.
-inp=input input mdr Specifies the input file type. The default is mdr. Possible values are:
  • mdr - MDR or RCM radar data from converted file (Default). Name convention set to  rad_cvt.
  • raw - Raw MDR data from ingested radar file Name convention set to   rad_dat.
  • rcm - RCM summary data. Name convention set to   rcm_cvt.
  • rcmsite - RCM single site data. Name convention set to   rcm_dat.
  • nids - NIDS data input and Unisys radar composite Name convention set to  nids.
  • nowrad - NOWRad composite plot  Name convention set to  nowrad.
  • rrwds - Old RRWDS files  Name convention set to  rrwds.
-if=in_file in_file rad_cvt Specifies the input file name tag. The default is rad_cvt, but it can be modified to any value in the filename convention file. A full name convention can be specified as well.

The input file type can be changed as well:

  • mdr - MDR radar data (Default)
  • rcm - RCM summary data
  • rcmsite - RCM single site radar data
  • nids - NIDS data input and Unisys radar composite
  • nowrad - NOWRad composite plot
  • rrwds - Old RRWDS files
-of=out_file[,out...] out_file None Reserved for future use.
-cf=cityfile city_file rad.cty Specifies the name of the city database file used in finding station locations.
-mf=mapfile[,...] map_file wxp.map or
cont.dat, country.dat for domains outside North America
Specifies the name of the map database file. Multiple maps can be specified along with attributes to describe how to draw the map.
-cu=[hour|la] current None This specifies to use current data files. The current filename is based on the name convention. An optional hour can be specified for older data. If la is specified, the program will search back to find the most recent available file.
-ho=hour hour None This resource specifies the exact hour that a data file is valid for. This locks in the start hour for a multi-file sequence.
-nh=num_hour num_hour 0 (no loop) This specifies the number of hours that will be used in the plot. If this is not specified, a single hourly plot will appear. If this is specified, a loop of plots over this time will be generated.
-id=identifier identifier User prompt Used to plot a specific RCM site. If not specified, user will be prompted for the ID.
-pd=domain plot_domain User prompt
Batch: first domain in wxp.reg file.
This specifies the plotting domain. The projection, aspect ratio and the domain size are specified.
-re=region region Same as plot domain This resource is synonymous with the plot_domain.
-va=variable variable User prompt
Batch: first variable listed in the rad.var file
This specifies the variable to plot along with its formatting attributes. Multiple variables can be specified separated by commas for overlay plots. A list of valid variables is given below.
-sc=scale_factor plot_scale 1.0 Specifies a scaling factor for all plotted text, symbols, vectors, etc.
-fm=format plot_format None Specifies the output format of the plots.  This is generally used to specify how many decimal places get displayed on the plot and in the output raw files.
-pp=param[,param...] plot_param None Specifies additional plotting parameters. See the plot_param resource for more details.

MDR/RCM

  • site -- plots location of radar site
  • dist=# -- plots a single distance ring
  • nodist -- disables distance rings
  • nostatus -- disables plotting of radar status (NE,NA,OM)

NOWRad

  • run=# -- specifies run length for plotting areas (def=1, 2 for lat-lon domains)

NIDS

  • site -- plots location of radar site
  • dist=dist1:dist2:dist3 -- plots distance rings at specified distances
  • nodist -- disables distance rings
  • nograph -- disables plotting CREF storm chart
  • graph -- enables plotting CREF storm chart (default)
  • clutter=rad -- does not plot echoes within radius to eliminate ground clutter
  • noclutter -- disables clutter elimination
-dr=drawable[,...] draw all Specifies which part of the plot is to be drawn.
-la=label[,...] label Program defaults Specifies the labels to be plotted around the plot. By default, labels are generated by the program and plotted above and below the plot. This resource overrides these labels.
-in=interval con_interval None for plots, User prompt for grids. Batch: 0 Specifies the contour interval to use in contouring grids. This can also be used to color code plotted data and vectors.
-cb=base con_base Lowest contour value, maximum wind speed Specifies the base value for color fill contours, and wind speed per grid distance. For more details, see the con_base resource.
-fl=font_list font_list modern.fnt Specifies a list of fonts to use in the plots.
-ct=color_table color_table wxp.clr Specifies the color table to use in the plot. This maps color names to actual RGB color values.
-cot=color[:attr] color_text white
black
for inverse plots.
Specifies the text color for labels above and below the plot.
-cod=color[:attr] color_data green Specifies the color for plotted data.
-com=color[:attr] color_map red Specifies the color for background maps.
-coln=color[:attr] color_line magenta:st=dsh Specifies the color for lat/lon lines.
-cowd=color[:attr] color_wind white
black
for inverse plots.
Specifies the color for wind barbs.
-cowa=color[:attr] color_watch white
black for inverse plots
Specifies the color for watch boxes.
-cof=[val:]color[:attr],... color_fill A predefined color set based on the wxp.clr color table

 

Specifies the color set for use in plotting the data. See the color_fill resource for more details. Default is none, blue, cyan, green, yellow, red, magenta for MDR/RCM plots.
-de=device[,...] device User prompt
Batch: display
Specifies the output device.
-ti=title title Program name Specifies the window title.
-ic icon Off Specifies whether to open window in iconified mode.
-bg=color background black
white for inverse plots
Specifies the background color of the window.
-ge=geometry geometry 640x480 Specifies the window and paper geometry.
filename[#seq] [filename[#seq]...] filename None
User Pompt
Batch: current=la
The name of the radar data file to be plotted. An optional sequence number can be added to designate the time for non-WXP files. More than one file can be specified to generate a loop.

DESCRIPTION

This program plots various types of radar data.  Each type will be discussed below:

MDR (Manually Digitized Radar)

MDR data is broadcast once an hour (around 30 after) and is a low resolution radar composite for the contiguous US. The input to rad is a converted data file produced by the radcvt program. Then, based on a plot domain and a variable selected by the user, a plot is generated. Overlay plots, contour plots and loops can also be generated if the appropriate options are set.

The programs starts off by prompting the user for input converted file name.  The user may specify the input file either via the command line of through the current resource. The input naming convention is specified by the rad_cvt tag but this can be changed with the in_file resource. To generate a loop, the num_hour resource can be specified. This will tell the program to loop through this number of hours.

Next, the program prompts the user for the plot domain. This is done through a region menu which has predefined regions available. If needed a full plot domain can be specified to get a precise domain. The domain can be interactively changed using the mouse once the plot has been generated.

After the region has been set, the city database is read in and a cross-reference table is setup. Since converted data is not saved with location information, the program will refer to this table to location each station in the input file.

The program will now prompt the user for the particular output variable to plot. The program will show a menu of commonly used variables but many more are defined internally by the program and in the rad.var file. The internal variables are:

Internal Variables
Variable Description and units Plots
city All stations in the data file text
stat Radar status: NA, NE, OM text
pr_typ Precipitation type and intensity (eg RW-)
Intensity is based on max radar intensity:
1=-, 2= ,3=+,4=++,5=x,6=xx
text
pr_tnd Precipitation trend: +=increase, -=decrease, NC=no change,  NEW=new text
pr_tt Precipitation type and trend (type and single char for trend): /=increase,\=decrease,-=no change, *=new text
echtop Echo tops (100 ft). Top positioned at location.  If top has a star "*", no location is available and top positioned over station. text
pr_amv Area movement, direction and speed (knt) value0=dir,
value1=spd
pr_cmv Cell movement, direction and speed (knt) value0=dir,
value1=spd
watch Watch boxes (severe and tornado)  

These parameters can be accessed by name if they have not been redefined in the rad.var file. Otherwise, prepending a "+" to the variable name will guarantee these variables will appear.

There are several derived variables from this list which are defined in the rad.var file. These include composite plots, overlay plots and computed grids.

Derived/Composite Variables
Variable Description
all All data, a composite plot of status, type and trend, area movement (vector), cell movement (barb), echo tops, and watches
sum Only radar status. Useful for just plotting radar summary.

The program will now open the graphics window and start processing the data. The user will be prompted for the output device. Then the converted file is opened and data read in and radar summary plotted. The summary is plotted with the following color scheme.  The scheme can be changed using the color_fill resource.

Intensity DBz Color Precip Intensity Approx.Rainfall Rate (inches/hour)
Stratiform Convective
1 20-30 Blue/DGreen "-" -- Light

0.0 to 0.1

0.0 to 0.2

2 30-40 Cyan/Green "" -- Moderate

0.1 to 0.5

0.2 to 1.1

3 40-45 Green/LGreen "+" -- Heavy

0.5 to 1.0

1.1 to 2.2

4 45-50 Yellow/Yellow "++" -- Very Heavy  

2.2 to 4.5

5 50-55 Red/Orange "x" -- Intense  

4.5 to 7.1

6 >55 Magenta/Red "xx" -- Extreme  

> 7.1

The background map will plot and then any overlay data.  Composite plots can either be specified with the variable resource (.var file, resource file, command line or variable prompt).  The variable resource allows the user to control much of the data formatting.  

When the plot is complete, output can be saved to a GIF image file, spooled to the printer or the plot can be zoomed.  When zooming the image, the plot will redraw to the new domain.  It will also add more stations to the plot depending on the size of the domain. When the user is finished with the plot, the enter key can be hit which closes the window and returns the user to the variable prompt.

INTERPRETIVE NOTE: When determining the intensity of precipitation within a MDR radar grid box, the maximum intensity within the box is the intensity reported. Therefore, precipitation coverage is often overestimated, especially in cases of convective precipitation. Also, since most stratiform precipitation occurs below 10,000 feet, radars may not fully report large areas of stratiform rain and especially snow.

Watch Box Data

The watch box is determined based on the coordinates of two stations.  These coordinates or station locations are looked up in the sao_all.cty file. This file contains some common station coordinates that are used in watch box location but may not report surface data. At times, the stations are not in the database file and the watch box will not plot.  You can add stations to the sao_all.cty file if needed.

Second, the watch box is associated with a valid time range.  The box will only be plotted if the radar summary is within the valid time.  This is NOT determined by the current time.

The box is plotted along with two lines of text. For example:

S716
to 3Z

The first line gives the watch type: S for severe thunderstorm or T for tornado. The number represents the watch number which can be cross referenced to the watch data. Watch data is printed as such:

Date: 2235Z 27 AUG 97
WATCH_decode_file: file not found: /rainbow/data/ddplus/12082797.wws
Reading watch file: /rainbow/data/ddplus/18082797.wws
Watch: 716 SEVERE : VALID
Watch: 716 SEVERE : VALID    

If the message level is out3, the following information is printed:

Reading watch file: /rainbow/data/ddplus/18082797.wws
Watch: 716 SEVERE : Beg: 97/08/27 21:00 End: 97/08/28 03:00 VALID
   Width:60 NORTH Location: 35W GGW to 95E ISN
Aviation location: 30W GGW to 12WSW MOT
Watch: 716 SEVERE : Beg: 97/08/27 21:00 End: 97/08/28 03:00 VALID
   Width:60 NORTH Location: 35W GGW to 95E ISN
Aviation location: 30W GGW to 12WSW MOT   

This will display beginning and ending times as well as location information so the user can plot the data by hand. The width is in nautical miles and the direction is either EAST for east-west of a line, NORTH for north-south of a line, or EITHER for either side of a line.

RCM Radar Summary Display

RCM (Radar Coded Messages) are similar to the MDR reports.  RCM data is on a grid 1/4th the size of the MDR grid or roughly 12km resolution.  RCM summaries are generated from the individual site RCMs using the radcvt program and placed in a WXP radar converted file.  The program determines the type of converted file from the contents.  If the converted data is MDR data, MDR plotting procedures will be used.  If the converted file is RCM data, then RCM plotting will occur.  The radcvt program will save the RCM data with the file tag rcm_cvt. Using rcm for the input resource will make this the default tag.  The procedure for running the program is nearly identical to the MDR procedure. RCM summaries use the same echo range (1 to 6) as does MDR.   The radar summary plot may be annotated with various pieces of information such as storm ID, echo tops, movement, hail, TVS (Tornado Vortex Signatures), mesocyclone location, and severe weather watch boxes:

Internal Variables
Variable Description and units Plots
city Site name text
stat Site status text=NA,NE,OM
mode Site mode (Precip,Clear Air) text=P,C
maxtop Site maximum tops (100ft) value
tvs Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS) value=1, text=TVS
meso Mesocyclone value=1,text=MESO
id Storm ID text
top Echo tops in 100s ft value
spd Speed of movement in knots value
hail Hail (0=none,1=prob, 2=likely) value=hail,
hail=2, text=*,
hail=1, text=+
mvmt Direction and speed of movement value0=dir, value1=spd

RCM Site Radar

This program will display RCM single site data.  When the input resource is set to rcmsite , the rad program will read the raw RCM data and plot the RCM data for a specific site.  The program will prompt the user for the site ID, if it is not specified in the identifier resource. The domain is based on the radar site.  If the user specifies a domain, the data will be remapped to the new domain.  The site data can be annotated with storm attribute information if the variable resource is set to comp.   The data plotted are:

Type Description
Red triangle Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS)
Yellow circle Mesocyclone
Green * Hail likely
Green x Hail possible
Wind barb Cell movement
Text UL Storm ID
Text UR Echo tops

Radar Mosaics (NOWRad and Unisys)

Radar Mosaics are high resolution (2, 4, and 8 km) national composites of all Nexrad sites.  NOWRad data is developed by WSI and comes in two forms: 2km resolution data on a latitude longitude grid (MASTER sector) and 8km resolution on a lambert conformal grid (US sector) both based on base reflectivity. The input resource is set to nowrad to tell rad that the input data is NOWRad. These are put into files defined by the nowrad and nowrad_us file name tags.

The Unisys mosaics are on a lambert conformal grid, in various resolutions and include base reflectivity, echo tops and precipitation.   These are in the same format as the composite reflectivity NIDS data so the nids file tag is used.

The program will prompt the user for the input file name. This can be entered via the command line or using the current resource. To generate a loop, the num_hour resource can be specified. This will tell the program to loop through this number of hours.

Once the file is determined, the user will be prompted for the device and plotting will begin. The color scheme is listed below.  The last two schemes require the radar.clr color table.

dbZ range Default Color nowrad.cfl nowrad_std.cfl
<5 off off off
5-10 blue DDGreen XGreen
10-15 lblue DGreen BXGreen
15-20 cyan DMGreen BGreen
20-25 lcyan MGreen MBGreen
25-30 green MBGreen MGreen
30-35 lgreen BGreen DMGreen
35-40 brown BXGreen DGreen
40-45 yellow XGreen DDGreen
45-50 red Yellow Yellow
50-55 lred Orange Orange
55-60 magenta XRed XRed
60-65 lmagenta BRed BRed
65-70 dgray MRed MRed
70-75 lgray    
75-80 white    

NOTE: The 2 km sectors sector plots are high resolution and often take a long time to plot.  Smaller regions will plot faster since echoes outside the domain do not plot.  For large regional plots, it is recommended to use the lower resolution (4, 8 km) mosaics.

NIDS Data

The NIDS data feed contains many types of images from each WSR-88D radar.  The images are for a single radar site and include the following:

Name Description Type
bref1 Base reflectivity, level 1 radial
bref2 Base reflectivity, level 2 radial
bref3 Base reflectivity, level 3 radial
bref4 Base reflectivity, level 4 radial
lref1 Layer reflectivity, level 1 rastor
lref2 Layer reflectivity, level 2 rastor
lref3 Layer reflectivity, level 3 rastor
cref Composite reflectivity, level 1 rastor, with text
vel1 Base velocity, level 1 radial
vel2 Base velocity, level 2 radial
vel3 Base velocity, level 3 radial
vel4 Base velocity, level 4 radial
srmv1 Storm relative mean velocity, level 1 radial
srmv2 Storm relative mean velocity, level 2 radial
tops Echo tops rastor
vil Vertical integrated liquid rastor
pre1 1 hour precipitation total rastor
pret Storm total precipitation rastor
prea Digital precipitation array rastor, 1/40th LFM grid
vad Vertical azimuth display winds aloft time cross section

To access these files, it is recommended to use the above names as file name extensions such as 9707241255.bref1. Then allot the name convention to use a extension (%e) and use nids_bref1 for the input file type. The input resource must be set to nids in order for rad to know that the data are in NIDS format.

After the file type is determined, the program will prompt for the input file name. This can be entered via the command line or using the current resource. To generate a loop, the num_hour resource can be specified. This will tell the program to loop through this number of hours.

The program will then display the image and overlay a map. If no plot domain is specified, the image is plotted in a polar stereographic projection sized so the image fits the window. A plot domain can be specified to remap the image for overlay.  The remap will only work with polar stereographic and lat/lon projections.

The default image colors are dependent on the image type:

  • bref, cref, lref, tops, vil, pre - uses a standard set of colors but the cutoffs are based on the threshold values in the NIDS file.  The colors are "off, blue, lblue, cyan, lcyan, green, lgreen, brown, yellow, red, lred, magenta, lmagenta, dgray, lgray, white".
  • vad - the wind barbs are color coded base on RMS of the variability of winds over the reporting period. These values range from 0-16 in intervals of 4.  The colors are "lblue, lcyan, lgreen, yellow, lred".
  • vel - uses a preset color scheme for consistency between plots.  The color scheme is: "-70:blue, -63:lblue, -49:cyan, -35:lcyan, -25:green, -19:lgreen, -9:dgray, 0:off, 1:lgray, 10:yellow, 20:brown, 26:lred, 36:red, 50:lmagenta, 64:magenta".
  • srmv - uses a preset color scheme for consistency between plots. The color scheme is: "-50:lblue, -40:cyan, -30:lcyan, -22:green, -10:lgreen, -5:dgray, -1:off, 0:lgray, 5:yellow, 10:brown, 22:lred, 30:red, 40:lmagenta, 50:magenta".

This can be changed using the color_fill resource.

Storm Attributes Plotting

The composite reflectivity product contains the storm attributes table.  By default, only the reflectivity plot is displayed.  If the variable resource is specified, attributes will be plotted over the reflectivity.  The possible variables are:

Internal Variables
Variable Description and units Plots
id Storm ID text
tvs Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS) value=1, text=TVS
meso Mesocyclone value=1,text=MESO
posh Probability of severe hail. value=prob,
prob>75, text=*,
prob>50, text=X
poh Probability of hail. same as posh
hsize Hail size in inches value
dbzm Maximum Dbz value value
dbzht Height of max. Dbz value
top Echo tops in 100s ft value
dir Direction of movement value
spd Speed of movement in knots value
mvmt Direction and speed of movement value0=dir, value1=spd
comp
Type Description
Red triangle Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS)
Yellow circle Mesocyclone
Green * > 75% Hail
Green x > 50% Hail
Wind barb Cell movement
Text UL Storm ID
Text UR Echo tops
 

These parameters can be accessed by name if they have not been redefined in the nids.var file.

RRWDS Data

Remote Radar Weather Display System (RRWDS) radar site displays can be handled by specifying rrwds for the input resource. The radar can be remapped for overlay purposes.

EXAMPLES

   rad -cu=la -re=mw -va=all -de=d

This plots a radar summary overlaid with a composite of MDR data including watch boxes.

   rad -if=nowrad -cu=la -re=40,-90,.4 -mf=fi:map_cnty -de=d

This will plot the latest NOWRad MASTER sector for a location in Illinois and overlay it with a county map.

   rad -if=nids_bref1 -cu=la -de=d

This will plot the latest BREF1 NIDS image. The file name convention uses the "bref1" as the extension (%e) in naming the file.  

   rad -if=nids_cref -cu=la -de=d -va=comp

This will plot the latest composite reflectivity image overlaid with the composite storm attributes.

FILES

  • rad.cty - the radar location database file
  • rad.var - the variable menu and definitions for MDR display
  • nids.var - the variable menu and definitions for NIDS storm attributes

SEE ALSO

  • radcvt - the MDR radar data decoding program

For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on July 28, 1998