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Brief History of Radar Meteorology

•Christian Hulsmeyer developed a device that could detect the presence of

ships (1904) •Tesla (1917) outlined a Radar could be used for vessel tracking •Pulsing (ranging) radar first developed during 1930s by British, German, French, and US researchers for defense •German developments were thought by the Allies to be focused on “death rays” •20 Feb 1941 10-cm (S-band) radar used to track rain showers (Ligda) •Possibility of such observations was predicted by Ryde (1941) •MIT Radiation Laboratory made similar observations in the early 1940s •U.S. Air Corps meteorologists receive “radar” training at MIT in 1943 •First operational weather radar, Panama, 1943 •Science of radar meteorology born from WWII research

Radar Image from 15 July 1960 Hurricane Abby near Belize U. Navy photograph .S.

hailstones. insects are considered the “objects”. EM waves propagate at the speed of light in a vacuum. Radar is based on the propagation of electromagnetic waves through the atmosphere. Birds also are readily detected and hence are of interest. cloud ice and liquid particles and snowflakes. a non-vacuum. For the purpose of clear air detection. c = 2. “Object” refers to meteorological targets such as raindrops. determining their direction and range. n = c/ν where ν is the wave speed . Propagation speed in a non-vacuum determines the index of refraction. recognizing their characteristics and employing the data thus obtained”.998 x 108 m s-1.RADAR-Radio Detection and Ranging Radar is the “art of detecting by means of radio echoes the presence of objects.

Some of the Uses of Radar in Meteorology •Precipitation measurements •Wind measurements •Turbulence and wind shear detection •Nowcasting •Hail and aircraft icing detection •Location of melting level in stratiform precipitation •Mesocyclone and TVS detection •Wind soundings in stratiform precipitation •Hurricane structure •Wind data assimilation in numerical weather prediction models •Extrapolation forecasting of severe weather .


Wind Profilers (UHF & VHF. ~50 to 900 MHz.W and K band radars are “cloud radars” X. C. S and L band radars are “precipitation radars” Also .3 m) . ~6 to 0.

Examples of Radar Systems NWS NEXRAD S-band 2.5 cm) Doppler SMART Radar C-band 5 cm Doppler .85 GHz (10.


8 GHz.TRMM Precipitation Radar (Ku. 13. 2.2 cm) .

482 MHz German Meteorological Service Wind Profiler 915 MHz Wind Profiler Southern Great Plains ARM-CART site .

Block Diagram of a Radar System Antenna Transmitter 106 W Display T/R switch Receiver 10-14 W .