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 From the Arctic to the tropics: researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation
20.11.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit
20.11.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>