2 January 2013

Ring Around The Radar

Posted by Dan Satterfield

What is causing this weird ring of rainfall?? The answer may surprise you.

In my last post I mentioned that the general public usually does not understand the weather radar images they see (on TV or online), and I saw a perfect example today. This is the Dover NEXRAD image at 2:12 PM EST today using the RadarScope app. This app is a favorite among meteorologists, but hopefully you are already wondering about something.

What is causing this ring of rain around the radar??

The answer is that there is NOT a ring of rain around the radar, and there was no rainfall being reported in New Jersey, MD or Delaware at the time. So, what are we seeing?? There was a low cloud deck at the time at around 2,500 meters above the surface and it was producing some very light precipitation. The radar beam was tilted up at 1.5 degrees so the beam was just about at 2,500 meters as it passed over Andrews AFB (TADW), and it was about 3000 meters when it reached northern New Jersey (KDIX). The inner portion of the ring is where the radar beam first reaches the precipitation and the outer edge is the point it rises above it.

A coating of water around melting snow makes a very good radar beam reflector. Image from the Bulletin of the AMS in 1999.

The air temperature today at that level was near or below freezing, and what we are probably seeing is the melting of some light snow in this layer. Melting ice is a VERY good reflector of radio waves and it is usually easy to detect the level at which snow is melting using radar, because the echoes will always show up with higher intensity where the beam passes through the melting layer. Notice that the echoes south of Dover are closer to the radar, and therefore nearer to the ground compared to the echoes centered around Fort Dix, NJ.

A very informative radar image, even though no precipitation was likely reaching the surface. It would certainly be information that pilots would find very valuable, and we can compare the actual freezing level with what the numerical models were predicting. Remote sensing is VERY interesting, isn’t it!

One last note: The chemtrail crazies send me these images as proof that the government is spewing mind control chemicals from the doppler weather radars. I think my explanation is a bit more scientific!