​​​Chilbolton Atmospheric Observatory (CAO)
11 Dec 2017



The synergistic use of CAO’s radars at multiple frequencies provides opportunities for improving our understanding of cloud and precipitation properties.

Aerial view of the Chilbolton Observatory site with 25 m dish.

​​CAO located at the Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire


Chilbolton Atmospheric Observatory receives funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to provide world-class ground-based remote-sensing capability to the UK atmospheric science community. It offers a well-appointed site that facilitates user driven projects through on-demand use of advanced radar and lidar equipment. This sits alongside long-term measurements that provide climatological context.  The continuous operation of key instrumentation ensures extreme events can be captured for further study. Data from the site are archived by the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA). 

CAO is helping the development of improved retrieval schemes for cloud ice water content, yielding better climatological data and improved model predictions through data assimilation. The facility contributes to international infrastructures such as Aerosol, Clouds and Trace gases Research Infrastructure (ACTRIS) and the NASA-led Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). 

The Chilbolton Observatory is an ideal location for field trials of new technology, and staff work with the university sector, industry and organisations such as the Met Office and ESA. The meteorological observations from CAO also lend themselves to wider areas of application, including high throughput satellite communications systems, where system design requires detailed knowledge of atmospheric impacts on radio propagation.​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries