Ceremony Events

Radar Advancement

Introduction  |  WSR-3 Radar  |  WSR-57 Radar  |  WSR-88D  |  How Does Doppler Radar Work?  |  Accessing Radar Data

How Does Doppler Radar Work?

Doppler Radar detects the presence and location of an object by bouncing an electromagnetic signal off of it and measuring the time it takes for the signal to return. This measurement is used to determine the distance and direction of the object from the radar. In the case of radar meteorology, the "objects" being measured are the particles of water, ice or dust in the atmosphere. Doppler radars take additional advantage of the fact that radar signals reflected from a moving object undergo a change in frequency related to the speed of the object traveling to or away from the radar antenna. Therefore, using Doppler technology, the WSR-88D calculates both the speed and direction of motion of severe storms. By providing data on the wind patterns within developing storms, the WSR-88D identifies the conditions leading to severe weather. A developing tornado, for example, can be detected forming miles above the earth before it reaches the ground. This means earlier detection of the precursors to tornadoes, as well as data on the direction and speed of tornadoes once they form.


Acknowledgements  |  Site Map  |  Other Resources
Legal Notice  |  Disclaimer  |  Privacy Notice  |  Contact Us
National Weather Service