The Explanation Of  How The Weather Radar Is Working. Doppler Radar’s Features.

Every meteorologist knows that a weather radar is a necessary gadget as it helps to forecast the weather (including temperature and precipitation). Such a radar just like satellite clouds’ images allows meteorologists to understand the weather that is outside at the specific moment, as a result of which the forecasts become more accurate and right.

Radar is a short version of the phrase «Radio detection and ranging»  and its benefit for the weather was noticed accidentally. Radars were used a lot to find out where the ships and airplanes of the enemies are located during World War II, and radar operators understood that precipitation created wrong echoes on the screens.

Military radars started to be used by meteorologists only after that war, and the upgrades made it possible to detect the precipitation by such radars. Nowadays, the weather radars look completely different in comparison with the ones used in the 1950s, however, the basic concept is still the same.

The explanation of how the weather radar is working nowadays

All radars have similar ways of operating, it doesn’t depend on the technology. First of all, an antenna of such a radar emits a beam of radio waves out. If any kind of precipitation (for example, rain or snow) is somewhere in the air, then the emitted radio waves ricochet off such objects and disperse. Some dispersed radio waves are reflected in this radar, besides, the objects that are bigger actually reflect more.

All the differences in reflectivity are located on a map which allows seeing precipitation falling, and that’s what you can see on the TV forecast, on the Internet, and also on your radar app.

Doppler Radar’s way of working

Doppler radar has specifics of working and it is not completely similar to other radars. It doesn’t only measure the reflectivity of precipitation, it can find out its form and position too. One more thing that such a radar can do is to measure the speed of precipitation toward or away from the Doppler radar.

As a result, Doppler radars can show measurements of wind speed as well, so they are truly necessary when it comes to tornadoes detection. Earlier, meteorologists needed to find visual obvious cues that are known as a “hook echo” because it made it possible to detect tornadoes within storms. But the real problem is that not every single tornado creates such hook echoes, so many of them couldn’t be noticed by meteorologists.

The future of the weather radars

 It has already been mentioned that radars have impressive progress in their revolution of weather forecasting. Doppler radar is not the only type of radars that allows having different extra functions, as there are some new models as well, for example, there will be a phased array radar that has an improved detection possibility and the speed of scanning. For example, Doppler radars require from 2 to 6 minutes for every scan, while phased array requires only 1 minute to do the same thing and scan the same zone.

But nowadays, phased array radar will cost not less than billions of dollars to be fully implemented, so probably it won’t be produced in the next 10 years.


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