Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

New radar helps predict rainfall

The cloud rader
The radar lets scientists see what is happen inside clouds

A team of Oxfordshire scientists have developed new technology which will help forecast rain more accurately.

Didcot's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory produced the radar which lets meteorologists see what is happening in a cloud, rather than just beneath it.

It can also reach up to 10 miles high, nearly twice the height a commercial aircraft can reach.

The system, which took 10 years to develop, is currently undergoing Met Office trials in Hampshire.

Project Manager Brian Moyna said the new system would enable meteorologists to make better forecasts.

"You can look at the [radar] return and predict with reasonable confidence if it's going to rain in the next 10 minutes," he said.

"The main application is to enable meteorologists to better understand what is actually going on inside the cloud, which will allow them to improve the forecasting model."

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