On hearing the word, “radar”, we usually think of speed controls or air traffic control systems. In fact, there are many kinds of radar and applications thereof.
At Punta Galea in Getxo the Climatology and Meteorology Office of the Basque Government has installed a very special kind of radar: a radar that indicates the patterns of winds; wind patterns at up to 3,000 metres altitude indicating its direction and speed. This is what is special about the radar at Punta Galea.
In normal operation mode, the average wind patterns are obtained every 25 minutes and, moreover, the temperature is measured every 30 minutes. In order to obtain data about winds, the radar sends microwave pulses towards the sky in five directions by means of a multidirectional broadcasting aerial. One of these microwave beams is directed vertically, to the zenith; the other four towards the four cardinal points. Small variations in the atmosphere produce echoes and some of the pulses are reflected back to the radar antenna, where they are detected. The differences in frequency between the waves received and the waves emitted are processed and analysed by the computer and we obtain a representation of the wind pattern with its speed and direction at different altitudes. The interpretation of these results is the job of the researchers and technicians.
Eneko Imaz | Basque research
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