National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

WSR-88D Binghamton's (KBGM) Upgrade to Dual Polarization

The dual-polarization radar upgrade was completed on the KBGM WSR-88D during the week of April 2nd through 7th, 2012!  Neighboring radars that have also upgraded to Dual-Pol include:

Dual-Pol coming in July for:

We strongly encourage users of our current radar information to become familiar with these new products through a series of online training modules provided by the Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB). Modules are available for non-NWS meteorologists and non-meteorologists here.

This much anticipated upgrade will incorporate a new technology called dual-polarization, or dual-pol, which is part of the NWS vision to build a Weather-Ready Nation to better protect lives and livelihoods. This new technology will provide 14 new radar products that will support our mission to serve our partners and customers in central New York and northeast Pennsylvania.

What is Dual-Pol?

The current WSR-88D Doppler radars transmit and receive pulses of radio waves in a horizontal orientation. As a result, the radar only measures the horizontal dimensions of targets (e.g. cloud and precipitation droplets). Dual-polarimetric radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. As a result, the returning frequencies provide measurements of the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets, supplying forecasters with better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets.


 Current NWS doppler radar
 Dual-pol radar
Current NWS doppler radar Dual-polarimetric radar


Benefits of Dual-Pol

  • Improved accuracy of precipitation estimates, leading to better flash flood detection
  • Ability to discern between heavy rain, hail, snow, and sleet
  • Improved detection of non-meteorological echoes (e.g. ground clutter, chaff, anomalous propagation, birds, and tornado debris)
  • Detection of aircraft icing conditions
  • Identification of the melting layer (e.g. bright band)

Dual-Pol Products & Applications

The base radar products that have been available to users are base reflectivity, base velocity, and spectrum width. After the Dual-Pol upgrade, three new base products will be available: differential reflectivity (ZDR), correlation coefficient (CC), and specific differential phase (KDP). In addition to these three new base products, there will be several derived products. These include a melting layer (ML) product, a hydrometeor classification algorithm (HCA) product, and eight new precipitation products. Click on the tabs below to view examples of four of these new products. Images courtesy of the Warning Decision Training Branch.



The following are examples from the National Weather Service Office in Peachtree City, GA.

Training & Additional Information

Radar images courtesy of WDTB and some of the web content courtesy of NWS AMA & NWS FFC