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UNIT 10—LESSON 4

RADAR AND LDATS INTERPRETATION

OVERVIEW 

Identify radar weather echoes on a PPI and RHI scope and interpret information displayed by the lightning detection and tracking system (LDATS).

OUTLINE

Radar

PPI scope presentation

RHI scope presentation

LDATS display

RADAR AND LDATS INTERPRETATION

The application of radar as an aid to observ-ing and forecasting weather has provided meteorologists with information of inestimable value in many instances. Its use in thunderstorm, tornado, and hurricane/typhoon detection and warning has materially reduced the destruction and loss of life caused by these phenomena. Radars specifically designed to observe weather will be discussed in volume 2 of this manual; however, other types of radars, such as those used by air traffic controllers and shipboard radars, although not specifically designed to observe weather, can be useful in observing adverse weather if current operations do not preclude their use.

The value of weather radar, as with all other meteorological equipment, is to a large extent dependent upon the experience of the operators and interpreters. The intent of this lesson is to pre-sent basic information related to the interpreta-tion of radar echoes, thereby providing a basic foundation upon which you may build with increasing knowledge and experience. 

The LDATS is designed to detect cloud to ground lightning discharges and to provide a plot of same on a color monitor and/or printer. It pro-vides us with a means of locating and tracking thunderstorm cells and determining whether the cells are intensifying or decaying.

Learning Objective: Identify radar weather echoes on PPI and RHI scopes.

RADAR

The word radar is an acronym for RA dio D etection A nd R anging. Radio waves, like light waves, are reflected from objects; the nature of the reflection depends on the size, shape, and composition of the object. In most weather radar applications, short bursts of radio energy are emitted from the radar transmitter and focused in a specific direction. If they strike an object and are returned to the radar in sufficient strength, the object is said to have been detected. The range-distance to the object—can be determined because we know how fast the radio waves travel and can measure the time required for them to travel to the object and return to the radar. The direction of the object from the radar is deter-mined from the azimuth angle of the radar antenna from which the energy was transmitted.

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