Why radar in meteorology

If you have looked for weather information on the web, you have come across web pages like the one on the left showing radar imagery of precipitation. In fact, radar is used regularly in meteorology for weather surveillance, or the real-time monitoring of the current situation and and of its evolution. As a result, there are over 200 radars in North America alone used for that task.

Why is this?

  • Radar is one of the rare instruments that can obtain weather-related information in three dimensions (x,y,z) as a function of time. It can see inside storms, and can be used to assess storm severity using the reflectivity information as well as Doppler velocity information (what are the winds within the storm).
  • It provides unique information such as precipitation intensity, radial winds, particle type (using dual-polarization).
  • As an active remote sensor, it does not suffer from many of the observation problems associated with passive sensors, such as image displacement, changing illumination, or limited ranging ability.
  • Most importantly, this information is available immediately, and can therefore be immediately used.
  • And we can use its data to make good forecasts at short range (0-6 hr).

Meteorologists love their radar. And our group specializes in making radar even more useful.

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