Satellite image of the Earth.

Remote upper air sensing

Remote sensing of the atmosphere continuously provides profiles of essential information about important atmospheric parameters. User groups benefiting from this information include NWP modellers and forecasters, as well as institutions concerned with air quality.

The Upper Air Remote Sensing Team is based in Exeter and Reading. It performs research and development for enhancing active and passive remote sensing systems, and applied methodology to generate information and products.

Enhancing remote sensing systems includes assessing systems available commercially off-the-shelf (COTS), but also enhancing existing systems by extending the hardware and / or adding additional software. The team also undertakes research and development for designing and building systems in open architecture design (OAD), combining components available on the market for achieving the optimal system design for the given requirements.

Enhancing the applied methodology to generate information and products focuses on three areas. The first area is development and implementation of methods to get additional information and products from existing instruments. The second area covers assessing the capabilities of new instruments to deliver useful information and products. The third area focuses on the benefits of combining different instruments and of taking advantage of using spatial information of networked instruments.

Key Aims

  • defining and developing the upper air observing network that will be required for high resolution NWP and forecasting demands in the next decade.
  • collaborative development, testing and evaluation of wind profiling radars and cloud radars.
  • working with forecasters and experts in Forecasting Research and Development on the generation of information and products required for enhanced nowcasting and short-term forecasting .
  • optimising the Met Office's lightning location system, LEELA, to provide improved detection of lightning events both in the UK and in other areas of interest to our customers;
  • working with colleagues in other European met. services to deliver European-wide wind profiling radar and GPS-integrated water vapour measurement networks.
  • supporting the improvement of the global observing networks, especially the radiosonde networks, for the World Meteorological Organization.
  • providing scientific and technical support to operational teams managing the delivery of observations from the upper air networks.

Current projects

  • Next generation lightning detection system
  • Next Generation GPS Water Vapour Project
  • RUAC
  • Utilisation of the LCBR Network
  • Assessment of a 94 GHz Radar Cloud Profiler