The MST radar belongs to a class of atmospheric radars that are able to measure profiles of the three-dimensional wind vector on a continuous basis. They also provide information about turbulence, atmospheric structure, and precipitation (e.g. rain, sleet, and snow). Relative to other radars in this class, MST radars operate at low frequencies (46.5 MHz in the case of the Aberystwyth radar) and with high power. This enables them to make continuous observations over the approximate altitude range 2 – 20 km (i.e. covering most of the troposphere and the lower stratosphere) and sporadic observations over the altitude range 60 – 90 km (i.e. covering the mesosphere).
RAL Space has been responsible for developing the Aberystwyth MST Radar Facility for both the research and the operational communities. The Facility is primarily funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). The Met Office provides additional funding through a commercial contract for the supply of near real time wind profile data. The Met Office, together with four other European meteorological organisations, operationally assimilate the data for the purpose of numerical weather prediction.
The primary strength of the MST radar is that it is operated on a continuous basis. This makes its observations ideal for studying everything from small-scale atmospheric phenomena, through large-scale weather systems, to long-term climatologies. Its unique dataset is openly accessible through the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA).
For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries