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Weather radar network renewal

Rainfall radar

We have made key improvements to our radar infrastructure by increasing our radar capability, helping provide information that can be used to better forecast localised rainfall intensity and to improve post-event flooding analyses.

Our current network consists of 15 operational weather radars across the UK providing real-time information to help monitor and forecast heavy rainfall. 

Weather radar network renewal project

The Weather Radar Network Renewal Project was jointly funded by the Met Office and the Environment Agency. It  provided major investment and improvements in new weather radar systems and technology, addressing some of the challenges of the previous network and providing a radar service that has the ability to meet future requirements.

The aims of the renewal project:

  • To use the latest technology to increase radar capability, such as dual polarisation, to improve quality control and rainfall rate accuracy;
  • To provide the potential for future increase in capability, for example hydrometeor classification;
  • To extend the operational life of the network by a further 15-20 years

To achieve these aims we:

  • Replaced the old radar systems with new dual polarisation and doppler technology;
  • Installed new high specification radomes;
  • Installed higher band width communications to move the data generated around the network more quickly and efficiently;
  • Recycled and reused components, where possible, for a reduced environmental impact.

Project timescales

The project was completed in January 2018 with each radar site being non-operational for up to 6 months in total. Each radar had two separate outage periods, the first to install the doppler and the second, slightly longer task, to upgrade the tower infrastructure and install the dual polarisation radome. All efforts were made to minimise the radar outage as much as possible but weather at times delayed the installation and testing of the new systems. Throughout the renewal project  we avoided working simultaneously on two sites in the same part of the country to  ensure that a back-up site was always available during any outage period.

 

We work closely with Jersey who provide the network with information on thunderstorms and precipitation coming from the South.  As part of the renewal, Jersey funded their own upgrade to benefit from the new technology being introduced.

The Met Office developed the system in-house and created bespoke radar, rather than buying in radar from a radar manufacturer.  This ensured best value for money and that a future-proof solution was used.

More information concerning the various phases and timings can be found here.   If you require any further information about the weather radar network enhancements or would like to discuss how it will benefit your business please email water@metoffice.gov.uk

 

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