Many of the atmospheric phenomena that trigger disasters are mesoscale in nature, with spatial scales of from a few hundred meters to several hundred kilometers and with a life cycle of several tens of minutes to about two days. Torrential rains, heavy snowfall, lightening and tornadoes, which occur in Japan every year, and which cause damage to life and valuable assets, are typical examples of mesoscale phenomena. Mesoscale phenomena, which have a great diversity of forms and geographical characteristics, are on a small scale and sometimes occur unexpectedly.Weather radars are effective means to monitor such mesoscale phenomena. The use of radars with a Doppler function enables information on wind distribution to be obtained, in addition to the reflectivity information that is conventionally obtained. The use of multi-parameter radars with a Doppler polarization function enables non-Z-R relation-based rainfall estimates to be performed, and information on precipitation particle types to be obtained.
From a global point of view, it was 50 years or so ago that weather radars made their full-scale debut. The transfer of World War II era military radars to civilian use lead to the advent of weather radars. The first weather radar was introduced to NIED in 1969. Considering the fact that NIED was established in 1963, it can be said that with the introduction of weather radar, NIED has undertaken research since the early stages of its establishment. Looking at the history of NIED research using weather radar, it is divided broadly into three phases; non-Doppler radar, Doppler radar, and multi-parameter radar.
A brief introduction to the main observations conducted by NIED is given here, with photographs.
Locations and themes of radar observation conducted from 1989.
- Snow storm observation (Tsugaru Plain, 1989 ~ 1992)
- Snow cloud observation (Sakata, 1989 ~ 1992)
- Snowstorm observation (Ishikari Plain, 1994 ~ 1996)
- Typhoon observation (Miyako Island, 1993)
- Rainfall observation/DUETTO (Ishikari Plain, 1994)
- Tsukuba Region Rainfall Observation (Kanto Plain, 1993 ~ 1996)
- Narita International Airport radar verification experiment
(Kanto Plain, 1995)
JATMEX (Darwin, Australia, 1999 ~ 2000)
- Snowfall observation (Nagaoka, 2000)
- Miyake Island volcanic ash observation (Shikine Island, 2000)
- Snow cloud observation (Niigata 2001)
- DDX01/Dual Doppler (Kanto Plain, 2001)
- SZW01/Artificial snowfall experiment (Niigata, 2001)
- MMX03 Rainfall observation (Kanagawa, 2003 ~)
(black: XDOP and/or XPOL, red: MPX radar)