Umbrella with raindrops Photo Freddie Marriage

Radar systems

The UK Weather Radar Network is designed to provide continuous, real-time rainfall data over almost the whole of the UK land area and inshore waters. The data can provide valuable information for immediate emergency response in times of extreme weather conditions, as well as providing data to flood planners when managing future risk. In addition to rainfall data the radar network provides observations for the Met Office numerical weather prediction system, in the form of Doppler measurements of wind and a novel technique for using radars to measure of changes in humidity.

The previous radar network was built up over a period from the mid 1970's to the 1990s, with the oldest radar (at Hameldon Hill) delivering reliable operational data since 1974. To combat the risk of obsolescence, meet the future demands of higher resolution NWP, and operationally realise the benefits of dual polarisation technology on the UK network, the radar systems team based in Exeter have recently designed and developed the next generation of radar for the UK network. The in-house design consists of radar subsystems procured from a variety of suppliers, and integrated by the team. 

The radar systems team also provide technical design consultancy to external customers, on radar design, site location, and network management.

Key aims

  • Improving on reliability of data using dual polarisation radar measurements
  • Development, evaluation and implementation of new radar hardware and signal processing techniques
  • Collaboration with the US National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL), Advanced Radar Techniques team on signal processing techniques
  • Expanding the network to improve coverage

Current projects