weather glossary


VAD - Velocity Azimuth Display. A radar display on which mean radial velocity is plotted as a function of azimuth. See VWP.

Vault - Same as BWER.

Veering Winds
- Winds which shift in a clockwise direction with time at a given location (e.g., from southerly to westerly), or which change direction in a clockwise sense with height (e.g., southeasterly at the surface turning to southwesterly aloft). The latter example is a form of directional shear which is important for tornado formation. Compare with backing winds.

Vertically-stacked System - A low-pressure system, usually a closed low or cutoff low, which is not tilted with height, i.e., located similarly at all levels of the atmosphere. Such systems typically are weakening and are slow-moving, and are less likely to produce severe weather than tilted systems. However, cold pools aloft associated with vertically-stacked systems may enhance instability enough to produce severe weather.

VIL - Vertically-Integrated Liquid water. A property computed by RADAP II and WSR-88D units that takes into account the three-dimensional reflectivity of an echo. The maximum VIL of a storm is useful in determining its potential severity, especially in terms of maximum hail size.

VIP - Video Integrator and Processor, which contours radar reflectivity (in dBZ) into six VIP levels:

VIP 1 (Level 1, 18-30 dBZ) - Light precipitation
VIP 2 (Level 2, 30-38 dBZ) - Light to moderate rain.
VIP 3 (Level 3, 38-44 dBZ) - Moderate to heavy rain.
VIP 4 (Level 4, 44-50 dBZ) - Heavy rain
VIP 5 (Level 5, 50-57 dBZ) - Very heavy rain; hail possible.
VIP 6 (Level 6, >57 dBZ) - Very heavy rain and hail; large hail possible.

*Virga - Streaks or wisps of precipitation falling from a cloud but evaporating before reaching the ground. In certain cases, shafts of virga may precede a microburst; see dry microburst.

V Notch - A radar reflectivity signature seen as a V-shaped notch in the downwind part of a thunderstorm echo. The V-notch often is seen on supercells, and is thought to be a sign of diverging flow around the main storm updraft (and hence a very strong updraft). This term should not be confused with inflow notch or with enhanced V, although the latter is believed to form by a similar process.

Volume Scan - A radar scanning strategy in which sweeps are made at successive antenna elevations (i.e., a tilt sequence), and then combined to obtain the three-dimensional structure of the echoes. Volume scans are necessary to determine thunderstorm type, and to detect features such as WERs, BWERs, and overhang.

Vorticity - A measure of the local rotation in a fluid flow. In weather analysis and forecasting, it usually refers to the vertical component of rotation (i.e., rotation about a vertical axis) and is used most often in reference to synoptic scale or mesoscale weather systems. By convention, positive values indicate cyclonic rotation.

Vort Max - (Slang; short for vorticity maximum), a centre, or maximum, in the vorticity field of a fluid.

VWP - VAD Wind Profile. A radar plot of horizontal winds, derived from VAD data, as a function of height above a Doppler Radar. The display is plotted with height as the vertical axis and time as the horizontal axis (a so-called time-height display), which then depicts the change in wind with time at various heights. This display is useful for observing local changes in vertical wind shear, such as backing of low-level winds, increases in speed shear, and development or evolution of nearby jet streams (including low-level jets).

This product often is referred to erroneously as a VAD.