Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Forecasting where and when the rain will fall


Leeds researchers are aiming to unlock the secrets of the British weather, bringing forecasters one step closer to that elusive holy grail: the ability to predict exactly where, when and how much rain is going to fall.

Dr Alan Blyth from the school of the environment explains: “There’s still a lot we don’t know about exactly how rain is formed, so it’s no surprise that the forecasting models don’t always get it right, particularly in relation to the quantity of rain that’s going to fall.”

Most rain in the UK is caused by ice crystals growing to such a size that they fall to earth, melting as they enter warmer air. But how and when these crystals form still isn’t clear. Some water droplets in clouds will freeze and begin the process at –10oC; others need temperatures closer to –40oC.

Using the latest equipment developed in Britain and the USA, the research team will measure the size and shape of ice crystals in the clouds from a specially equipped NERC aircraft. Although the plane travels faster than 100 metres a second, the ‘cloud particle imager’ can capture pictures of ice crystals just 0.001mm in size.

“We thought that the droplets which froze first were those which had a tiny mineral grain in them, known as an ‘ice nucleus’.” said Dr Blyth. “We think there’s approximately one ice nucleus per hundred thousand water droplets, but earlier tests I carried out in New Mexico showed that at –15oC, far more ice crystals are forming than there could be ice nuclei, so there must be another process at work.”

The ability to take pictures of such small ice crystals means the researchers can see what’s happening at a very early stage of the process, while the crystals are just starting to form. Their findings can then be fed into the forecasting models to provide more accurate predictions.

The research is a collaboration with the Met Office, UMIST, the University of Hertfordshire and the national centre for atmospheric research in the USA.

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Wandering greenhouse gas
16.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System
14.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>