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Sunny prospects for small-scale weather forecasting and monitoring

Many businesses, in commercial and industrial sectors are profoundly influenced by the weather and require applications and tools tailored to their needs. An EU-backed project has created an innovative, small-scale radar system coupled with an innovative support software tools.
Sunny prospects for small-scale weather forecasting and monitoring
With the growing prevalence of extreme weather events, weather-related and hydrological hazards are among the most critical environmental issues faced today. Radar observations have provided invaluable quantitative information on the spatial distribution of rainfall and floods, which is useful for both meteorological and hydrological applications. Applications that can be utilised by weather-vulnerable business sectors are an important emerging use of meteorological and hydrological information systems.

With funding from the EU, the HYDRORAD project worked on developing innovative radar remote-sensing technologies and software-based business support tools to handle severe weather, water resources and climate information. These technologies are destined for use in industry, including transportation, insurance, tourism and agriculture, not to mention government-run emergency management agencies.

Comprising innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and cutting-edge research centres, the HYDRORAD consortium designed a number of software applications and technologies. These included three upgraded X-band mini-radars to provide high-resolution quantitative precipitation estimates over relatively small ranges, such as urban areas, small-scale catchment basins or extended agricultural domains (HYDROSYS). The project also worked on a number of radar algorithms (HYDROALG) and hydro-meteorological models (HYDROWAT and HYDROMET).Data post-processing software and analysis tools was also involved (HYDRONET).

During the project, all the components of HYDRORAD were tested in field trials in Moldova and found to function properly and satisfactorily most of the time.

The global weather services market is worth billions of euros, and its impact is in the trillions. It also has an important social and environmental role. As markets in emerging economies mature, the forecast for this market is bright, representing a global opportunity for HYDRORAD's proven research results.

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