The height column in the storm attribute table corresponds to the
vertical height of the maximum reflectivity (dBZ) for a certain
thunderstorm cell. The output should normally be a four-digit or
five-digit number displayed in feet above radar level (ARL).
The National Weather Service radars originally display a height in
composite reflectivity as a one-digit or two-digit number with a
one-digit decimal. Multiply this number by one thousand to correctly
format the output. For example, if a radar displays the height as 15.6,
the actual height is 15,600.
Radar operators use the reflectivity height to determine the structure
of a thunderstorm, and where the most intense portion of the updraft
is. The reflectivity height may also be combined with other products to
form an algorithm regarding the potential for damaging downburst winds.
Those in the aviation industry may also find the height of the maximum
dBZ useful so pilots can avoid flying planes into extreme turbulence.
In general though, aviators attempt to avoid strong and severe
thunderstorms, as well as give them a decent amount of room.
A radar cannot detect the maximum reflectivity (dBZ) height well, or
possibly at all, if a thunderstorm is close to the radar site. Beams
are unable to extend into the updraft at such a degree from the radar's