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US Navy's High-Resolution Radar Can See Individual Raindrops In a Storm 161

coondoggie writes "The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) researchers said recently that a Navy very high-resolution Doppler radar can actually spot individual raindrops in a cloudburst, possibly paving the way for new weather monitoring applications that could better track or monitor weather and severe storms. According to an NRL release, the very high-resolution 'Mid-Course Radar' was used to retrieve information on the internal cloud flow and precipitation structure. The radar was previously used to track small debris shed from the NASA space shuttle missions during launch. 'Similar to the traces left behind on film by sub-atomic particles, researchers observed larger cloud particles leaving well-defined, nearly linear, radar reflectivity "streaks" which could be analyzed to infer their underlying properties,' NRL stated."
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US Navy's High-Resolution Radar Can See Individual Raindrops In a Storm

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  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:26AM (#40491107) Homepage Journal

    The Space Shuttle generally flew only under clear conditions (Challenger excepted, of course); I can't ever recall seeing a photo of the Shuttle taking off or landing in the rain.
    Light rain, I can see this working, but a proper Texas Downpour (a.k.a. "cow pissing on a flat rock") is probably going to block the signal after 300m of heavy rain, even at higher energies. I'd be curious to hear what kind of rainstorms and what region of the country they were testing this in. Light mist in Seattle is very different from a tropical thunderstorm in Miami is very different from a squall line in Dallas.

  • So much for stealth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Melkman ( 82959 ) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:28AM (#40491113)

    If you can detect indvidual raindrops, I suspect detecting a marble sized radar target flying near or over the speed of sound is no problem whatsoever. While this radar is probably too big to put in a fighter a datalink from a ground based version to the fighter will solve that problem quite nicely.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl