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D e t e c t i v e   RADAR

 
RADAR detection

Doppler RADAR can detect the location and intensity of storms (reflectivity), the speed and direction of wind (velocity), and the total accumulation of rainfall (storm total). RADAR systems generate a different image for each.

A reflectivity image shows the location where rain, snow, or other precipitation is falling and how intensely. Meteorologists read a corresponding color key to interpret the reflectivity image. Different colors indicate different intensities of the precipitation.


Reflectivity RADAR image

Velocity images reveal the speed and direction of winds. Again, meteorologists use a color key to interpret the velocity image. The color keys are not standard, but on some images warm colors, like red and orange, indicate that winds are blowing away from the RADAR site. Cool colors, like green and blue, indicate that winds are blowing towards the RADAR site. Then, the color key is used to determine the speed of the winds.


Velocity RADAR image

A storm total image shows how much total precipitation has fallen. The corresponding color key allows meteorologists to see quickly the accumulation of rain, snow, or other precipitation.


Storm Total RADAR image

Meteorologists learn how to read RADAR images in order to understand and forecast the many kinds of weather which can be detected with RADAR. RADAR also detects other objects in the atmosphere, though, so reading RADAR images takes practice.

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