GRLevel3 v2

Before reviewing GRLevel3 v2 information, please read the GRLevel3 v1 guidance for an overview of the applications' capabilities. While the fine-tuning of v2 is somewhat different, many of the concepts are the same.

Advances made with GRLevel3 v2 include processing and use of higher resolution graphical data and a refined layout of controls. GRLevel3 v1, however, remains quite useful and can produce similar information.

Reduced Color Palette

The layout of GRLevel3 v2 differs from V1 in several ways. The most noticible is the buttons previously found on the ride side of the window are now located across the top "ribbon" as shown in the selected dual-pane configuration below. (Click to expand).

dual_pane_wide.jpg

Rain (and hail) can fall at speeds of over 70 MPH. This downward force pushes rain-cooled air out and ahead of a storm cell's path, sometimes leading to outflow boundaries seen on radar that travel ahead of the storm. When the outflow is cold and substantial enough, it can choke off the storm cell's intake of warm air and cause it to weaken and potentially die off.  Two colliding outflow boundaries are shown in a capture from GRLevel3 v2 below. Note the fade of the storms that produced the cooler outflows.

Colliding outflow bounardies (AKA gust fronts)

In the GRLevel3 v1 guide, information was given on using edited color palettes. More examples of the differences are shown below in comparisons of different parts of the same storm system. 

Rain, multiple cells: Default vs Edited Color Palettes

rain_palettes.jpg

Rotating Cell (TVS): Default vs Edited Color Palettes

TVS_palettes.jpg

The point of the comparison is to illustrate that altering the color palette can reduce the saturation or "flood" of color in an image to allow focus on more important parts of the storm cells. These examples were taken when the radar was set to medium gain (VCP212*) due to the presence of a fairly large area of rain. Reducing the color palette scale has the same effect on displayed radar images. The change is more obvious on higher gain or increased sensitivity radar settings, or when the area of rain is very large (tropical storms, hurricanes).

*VCP = Volume Coverage Pattern. Much more information about WSR-88D radar can be found at

https://meteor.geol.iastate.edu/classes/mt432/lectures/ISURadarTalk_NWS_2013.pdf

The reduced color palette is especially useful when viewing radar while mobile. This is acheived by setting the colors to be shades of gray below the threshold for light to moderate rain (about 25-30 DBZ). The background color can be changed to compliment the edited color palette.  A terrain background is not recommended due to the additional colors being added to the view. But most of this is based on personal preference.

To install the reduced color palette for GRL3 v.2, download the file here, rename the extension from ".zip" to ".pal", and place it in this path with the other palettes: 

C:\Program Files (x86)\GRLevelX\GRLevel3_2\ColorTables

Note: this file is not actually a ZIP file. A PAL file download may be blocked by security settings or antimalware software; thus, the workaround. It may also be necessary to use admin privileges to place the file at the named location. If problems are encountered, try moving the zip file to the folder first, then rename it as recommended.

To select the new color palette in GRL3,  gp to View, Color Table Settings, ensure that  Product Category "BR" is being adjusted, select Change, and search for the new file. Then select the Close button.  To return to the original palette, repeater this process and select the Default button. See example below.

Color palette change

Color_Palette_Change.jpg

Placefiles

AllisonHouse provides a great many overlays for GRLevel3 and other applications, for PC and mobile (RadarScope and others), that can be used to view real-time lightning positions, Days 1-3 SPC Convective Outlooks, CAPEs, METARs, MesoNet stations, hurricane model paths, hurricane hunter paths, Watch Boxes and Outlines, Frontal Boundaries, QPF, APRS positions by callsign, levels 2 and 3 radar status, data from ocean buoys, LSRs, and much more.

This is done by adding online Placefile locations in the Placefile Manager and turning them on as shown below. The second column of checkboxes permits adding the Placefile as an underlay.

Adding Placefiles

Placefiles.png

Admittedly, turning on all the available overlays can create a chaotic display (see below). But being selective, and using certain overlays for anticipating areas with the greatest risk of severe storms, can reap benefits.

Making a mess

chaos.jpg

© 2020 by Lone Star Storm Spotters Network (LSSN)