meteoradar

meteoradar

A step ahead of the weather

Manual Radar Thunder

Version 2011.1

The thunder radar is a unique combination of weather radar images with lightning data for Switzerland and neighboring countries. The displayed information is live with detailled zoom and 3D functions. The thunder radar ist the first combination of radar and lightning data where the user can distinguish between colud and grund lighning, view the vertical profiles of radar measurement and lightning discharges. The pictures will be updated every 5 minutes with a delay ao only a few minutes. The thunder radar is a powerful tool in assessing current and short-term forecasts of impending severe weather such as thunderstorms, hail storms and extreme rainfall in summer, snowfall, heavy rain and icing conditions in winter, respectively.

The purpose of this manual is to provide the user with optimum benefit in the interpretation of the products. Feedback is always welcome and can contribute to ongoing improvement and expansion of the manual.


Contents

Overview radar zoom and radar 3D
Radar thunder zoom
  Version for PC and mobile devices
  Display of rain and snow
  Temperature profile
Radar 3D
  Lightning map and evolution of lightning
Update of the products
  Pricing
  More information and support

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Overview radar thunder zoom and radar 3D

The user can subscribe for the two services 'radar thunder zoom' and 'radar 3D' either individually or together.

- The radar thunder zoom displays an overview loop of the precipitation and lightning discharges during the last half hour of Switzerland and adjoining foreign countries. This loop is free and universally accessible. By clicking on any part of the image, the user receives an enlarged radar image oft the selected region. The coloring of the radar echoes distinguishes between rain and snowfall. Furthermore, a chart displays the regionally-averaged vertical profile of temperature fo the selected region.

- The radar 3D provides a pseudo-3D illustrtion of precipitation and lightning data, with indication of the height profiles (0-12 km) through the rain clouds. An archive of the radar images is available for the current and past day. Furthermore the evaluation of the lightning activity in the last 24 hours is shown on hourly maps and in a graph.

Radar thunder zoom

The radar thunder zoom provides regional radar maps of enlarged scale. The elements of the representation are the same as in the overview loop:

  • Display of rainfall intensities in the levels of weak, moderate, strong, extreme (hail)
  • Display of ground lightning as a red, flashing spots
  • Display of cloud flashes as orange, flashing spots
  • Display of echo movement of the last half hour min as a loop, with images each 5 minutes
  • Display of echo motion in the final frame of the zoom-loops



  • Excerpt from the overview loop of a thunderstorm

    The intensity of precipitation is colored by level weak (blue) through to hail (purple). The lightning appears as a flashing spot: red showing ground lightning, orange showing cloud lightning, which do not reach the ground.


    Zoom display of the same thunderstorm

    The purple arrows at the last frame of the loop show the calculated shift of the precipitation echoes over 30 minutes. With this specification, the user can estimate when an approaching front reaches its location. Of course this is only applicable up to one hour in advance.

    PC- and mobile version

    Thunder radar zoom is avialable in two versions:

  • The PC version with shaded relief with 710x640 pixels
  • The mobile version without relief and smaller map of 355x320 pixels
  • The loops of the PC version show the last 30 minutes, the mobile version will only display the last 10 minutes. The zoom-loops of both versions are accessible with the same subscription (radar thunder zoom) .


    Display of rain and snow

    The radar thunder zoom also shows the type of precipitation in three stages: rain, indeterminate (rain / snow mixture) and snowfall. This distinction is made only for the weak and moderate intensity levels. The following table shows the used color map:

      Weak rain (0.16-0.9 mm/h)   Weak snowfall
      Moderate rain (1.0-9.9 mm/h)   Moderate snowfall
    undefined precipitation*, weak   Cloud lightning (flashing)
    undefined precipitation*, moderate   Ground lightning (flashing)
      Heavy precipitation (rain or snowfall, 10.0-99 mm/h)   Weak sleekness (flashing)
      Extreme precipitation (mostly hail, >= 100 mm/h)   Moderate sleekness (flashing)

    Temperature and humidity data is used to determine the type of precipitation . If these date are missing, undefined type will be shown. The following two examples illustrate the behaviour for the mobile version.



    Overview loop (mobile version) for snowfall

    Rain areas are colored blue and green. Snowfall areas are shown in turquoise. Striped regions indicate uncertain rainfall in the area of the snow line or for missing temperature data.



    Zoom detail (mobile version) for snowfall

    This example shows snow only on the Jura hills and the highest peaks of some hills of the Mittelland.


    Temperature profile

    On the right of the zoom loop you will find a profile air temperature (red), soil temperature (green) and dew point temperature (blue) for a height of 0-5 km. These are regionally averaged profiles of the measurements from ground stations. Because of the considerable spatial and temporal variability, these data is averaged in the time axis for 40 minutes. The time delay has to be considered when comparing these profiles with the zoom loops.

    In addition, the temperature profile of an imaginary convective cloud ("Cumulus") is shown, which forms at the base layer (500 m above ground) and rises into the air. If this temperature profile is colder than the air temperature profile then the atmospheric layering is stable. No cumulus cloud can form and rise into the air. The calculated "CAPE" (a measure of the available buoyant energy) is negative. Conversely, for positive values of CAPE, cumulus formation is possible. For higher CAPE the risk for showers and thunderstorm clouds increases. The numerical value of CAPE is in kJ / kg. The following applies: 1 kJ / kg = 1000 J / kg. The CAPE value is calculated for the altitude range of the cloud base up to 5 km above sea level.



    Profile of temperature and humidity

    In addition to the profiles, the presumed height of the snow line is marked with two strokes at the left edge of the graph.

    The soil temperature can drop a few degrees below the air temperature on clear nights. Thus, this parameter is a good indication of the risk of ground frost and black ice in the winter season.

    7 day forecast

    For each region a 7 day forecast for a representative location is available. This prediction is created fully automated by meteoblue. To view the forecast, click on the location names or the blue arrow next to it.

    Radar 3D

    The radar 3D provides a pseudo-3D illustration of the rainfall combined with lightning data, with indication of the height profiles (0-12 km) through the rain clouds. An archive of the current and past day of the radar images is also available. The profiles on the right and above the radar image are a projection of the entire radar volume 0-12 km to the respective projection area. The maximum of intensity of the corresponding height is displayed. This projection applies to both the radar intensities as well as for the lightning information. Ground lightning is flashing yellow dots, cloud lightning is flashing white dots. Lightning may be displayed above 12 km altitude as well.

    The color gradation of rainfall intensities is finer than the radar thunder zoom (16 instead of 4 levels). Hail can occur at the levels of 100 mm/h or above. The maximum height of this level is an indication of the possible strength of hail. The higher the level, the larger the hail on the ground.

    In addition to the current radar image a loop of the last 2 hours (without lightning) and an archive of the current and previous day is available.

    Radar 3D mit Vertikalprofil

    Farbtabelle Radar 3D The rainfall intensities are encoded according the adjacent color table (mm/h). The intensity of a certain level varies from the indicated intensity (inclusive) to the intensity of the next level (exclusive).

    Lightning maps and graph of lighting development

    Additional maps of 3D radar show the lightning strikes over the past 24 hours.



    Map of lightning strikes

    This map is renewed constantly showing all the lightning of the current hour. The maps are stored up to 24 hours to be called either individually or as a loop.



    Run of the lightning activity over the past 24 hours

    The lighning strokes of the entire radar image are summed up for each 5-min interval.


    Update of the products

    The fastest product available is the radar 3D radar. The latest image appears typically about 3 minutes after the time stamp of the radar image. The zoom images are usually updated about 2 minutes later, about 5 minutes after the time which is displayed in the radar image. The difference results from the considerable computing time which is required for the generation of zoom images.

    Delays that exceed these averages can allways occur. Possible causes are technical problems of radar stations, the server or communications systems, which are involved in the generation of the products. We do our best to maintain a stable operation as possible, but this depends heavily on our providers.

    Clients of a combined subscription zoom+3D get access to a second redundant server if the default server is overloaded or down. This may just occur at a stormy weather.

    Pricing

    Radar thunder zoom


    12 months
    6 months
    1 months

    CHF 100
    CHF 50
    CHF 10
    EUR 80
    EUR 40
    EUR 8
    Radar 3D

    12 months
    6 months
    1 months
    CHF 100
    CHF 50
    CHF 10
    EUR 80
    EUR 40
    EUR 8
    Radar zoom +
    Radar 3D
    12 months
    6 months
    1 months
    CHF 150
    CHF 75
    CHF 15
    EUR 120
    EUR 60
    EUR 12

    For more information and support

    Look regularly at our blog radar thunder (german only).There you will find informations on new features and answers to frequently asked questions. If you can't find the information, or you have technical problems, please contact us by e-mail: support@meteoradar.ch. We will try to answer your request as quickly as possible.