New high resolution rain radar for Newcastle and the North East

Researchers at Newcastle University are creating the most detailed picture yet of rainfall and flood risk in Newcastle, thanks to a brand new radar.

Located on the roof of the University’s 12-storey Claremont Tower, the radar will provide data to ten times the resolution that is currently available and will be used to provide a unique understanding of urban flood risk in the city centre. Its installation coincides with the fourth anniversary of the ‘Toon Monsoon’ of 28 June 2012, and scientists anticipate that the real time data captured by the radar will give the most detailed picture yet of the intensity and amount of rainfall over the city, as well as how it flows and collects on the surface.

Rain Radar

The radar is the latest addition to the Urban Observatory, a ground-breaking project that monitors Newcastle at multiple levels such as temperature, wind flow, air pollution and traffic. Researchers at the Urban Observatory say that combining the data in this way will bring greater understanding of the impact of intense weather events on the city’s infrastructure. Professor Richard Dawson, Professor of Earth System Engineering, Newcastle University, explained: “The Toon Monsoon and recent storms over the Southeast are vivid examples of how extreme weather can have multiple, and sometimes unforeseen, effects on our city’s infrastructure. We know that the frequency of intense rainfall will increase due to climate change, and even for relatively frequent, but small-scale, events there can be significant disruption to transport and other infrastructure services. “This means that there’s an urgent need to adapt our urban areas to reduce the risk to infrastructure but there’s currently a limited understanding of the many and complex relationships between the built and natural environments in our cities and how we interact with them. The Urban Observatory is helping to give us a holistic picture of what’s happening in our city and will improve our understanding of these relationships.”

Rain Radar

Open data for the city: Data from the new radar will be combined with information from an existing network of almost 400 sensors across the city deployed by Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and other partners. The radar was supplied by Eldes and supported by local firm EM Ltd. Full technical specifications can be found here.

See the live data here here.

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