Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique weather radar to investigate snowfall

20.03.2006


The Department of Physical Sciences at the University of Helsinki has acquired a state-of-the-art polarimetric weather radar. The new radar is reserved exclusively for research. Its most important meteorological research target is the physics of rain clouds, and scientists intend to focus on snow and sleet in particular. Snowfall and its polarimetric measurements have hardly been studied anywhere else in the world, although in the Finnish conditions, for instance, snowfall is one of the key weather elements.



The first test measurements of the prototype radar built for the University’s radar laboratory provided good evidence for the potential of a polarisation weather radar. The largest road traffic catastrophe in the Helsinki metropolitan area took place on 17 March 2005, with several multiple pile-ups on all Helsinki. The new radar was just undergoing test runs and it immediately revealed the meteorological factors which led to the accidents.

Radar images showed that the road conditions before the accident were dry and cold with only slight snowfall. There was, however, supercooled water in the air, which made the road surfaces slippery immediately prior to the accidents. At the time of the accidents, a narrow zone of heavy snowfall arrived from the south, suddenly reducing visibility. In places, this was followed by a larger area of snowfall with a high content of supercooled water.


Radar signals distinguish rain from snow

As the above example shows, the polarisation weather radar can reveal meteorological factors behind accidents. There is no radar as efficient in every aspect anywhere else in the world. Its exceptional features include an antenna with top-class properties, a versatile and powerful transmitter and an ability to measure two perpendicular polarisations.

The radar works by simultaneously transmitting two differently polarised microwaves to the atmosphere and receiving their reflected signals from the rain. The slight differences in the weak reflected signals with different polarisations enable scientists to deduce whether the precipitation falls as water, snow, hail or sleet, and gives information on the quantity and quality of the various precipitation particles (water drops, ice crystals, snow flakes or hailstones) over distances up to 200 km at all levels of the atmosphere. This is not possible using conventional weather radars, which only show where there is precipitation without being able to distinguish between rain or snow.

The radar’s transmitter is designed so that it can transmit either ordinary microwave pulses or what is called coded pulses. This makes it possible to further improve the radar’s measuring capacity with the help of new mathematical processing methods of radar signals. Indeed, research at the University is also being carried out to develop radar technology and further improve its measuring capacity.

The University’s radar was manufactured in Finland. The properties required from the radar were defined by Timo Puhakka, PhD, radar laboratory manager, and the radar was designed and built by Vaisala Oyj in co-operation with the radar laboratory.

The radar is located at the University’s Kumpula campus, on top of the Physicum building under a round dome, which acts as a landmark for the campus.

Radar meteorology has been one of the focal areas of meteorological research at the University of Helsinki for more than 35 years. The University’s radar laboratory boasts radar meteorological expertise of the highest level and it is widely known internationally.

Minna Meriläinen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.helsinki.fi

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>