Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cloud Radar — Predicting the weather more accurately

25.09.2008
The weather. It’s the one topic of conversation that unites Britain – umbrella or sun cream?

Now scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council have developed a system that measures the individual layers of cloud above us which will make answering the all-important weather questions much easier in future.

The Cloud Radar will not only allow forecasters to predict the weather more precisely, the information gathered will also enable aircraft pilots to judge more accurately whether it is safe to take off and land in diverse weather conditions, offering a powerful safety capability for civil airports and military air bases.

Developed over 10 years by researchers and engineers at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, in collaboration with the Met Office, the Cloud Radar can take a complete and accurate profile of cloud or fog up to 5 miles overhead. Operating at 94 GHz, 50 times higher in frequency than most mobile phones, the radar measures the cloud base height, its thickness, density and internal structure as well as providing similar information on cloud layers at higher altitudes.

The earliest version of the cloud radar was built to demonstrate that a low power system operating at high frequency could compete with more common radar types. It was built from the spare components of a radar altimeter designed to operate on a satellite, so that it used small, low-power components in contrast to previous cloud radars that use expensive pulsed sources which consume many times more power and have limited lifetimes.

Brian Moyna, Senior Systems Engineer at STFC said: “In a nutshell, our Cloud Radar takes a slice of cloud and provides a complete and accurate vertical profile. Compared to conventional pulsed radar instruments, this radar is a low power, high sensitivity, portable instrument that uses all solid state components for lower cost and increased reliability.”

The Met Office has just purchased a Cloud Radar which is being trialled at sites around Britain. Additionally, a Cloud Radar has also been acquired by the University of Marburg in Germany.

The radar consists of a millimetre-wave frequency source that continuously emits a low power signal in the vertical direction that is frequency modulated. A signal is returned, mainly due to what is known as ‘back-scattering’ from water droplets and ice crystals in the atmosphere. This signal is picked up by a receiver and converted to a microwave signal, which is then digitised, analysed and a real-time image of the returned signal intensity versus altitude is displayed for the user.

The new Cloud Radar is the result of several hundred thousands of pounds of investment into the Space Science & Technology Department at STFC with proof of concept funding from CLIK, STFC’s wholly-owned technology exploitation company, along with the Met Office.

Tim Bestwick, Chief Executive of CLIK said “This is an exciting example of how fundamental scientific research can result in such useful and practical applications, in this case, with more accurate weather forecasting and the potential to make our skies a safer place.”

Wendy Taylor | alfa
Further information:
http://www.stfc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change
24.11.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>