New and Improved SFMR data set


The technique to process data from the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR), which observes surface wind speeds and rain rates within tropical cyclones, was upgraded prior to the 2015 hurricane season on all NOAA and Air Force Reserve Command hurricane reconnaissance aircraft. The processing method improves the observations across all wind speeds and rain rates. Brad Klotz and Eric Uhlhorn published a peer-reviewed article describing the updated method in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology in November 2014. Due to this change, two versions of the SFMR data were present on the HRD data web page. In an effort to provide a consistent dataset and remove confusion among users, Brad Klotz and a student intern, Ailen Garcia of Florida International University, reprocessed all data prior to 2015 using the updated method described in Brad’s paper. These data have been validated and are now available for use. Neal Dorst was instrumental in making these data publicly available. A few key improvements to the dataset include:


  • All data are now in the same NetCDF file format and processing version
  • An overestimation of wind speeds in all rain conditions was reduced significantly
  • More accurate and realistic rain rates based on instrument limitations are provided


Klotz, B. W. and E. W. Uhlhorn, 2014: “Improved Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer Tropical Cyclone Surface Winds in Heavy Precipitation.” J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 31, 2392-2408.