Moscow Weather Radar Network for meteorological hazard monitoring

Yuri V. Melnichuk
Central Aerological Observatory , Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring, Pervomayskaya str. 3, Dolgoprudny , Moscow Region, 141700, Russia.
Tel.: (007-095)408-7719; Fax: (007-095)576-3327;
E-mail: yumel@orm.mipt.ru

The establishment of a regular operational and efficient system for monitoring severe atmospheric events is the most important task of any contemporary hydrometeorological service in all large cities. As cloudiness and precipitation are the most changeable meteorological phenomena, efficient monitoring of them is only possible by means of remote sensing methods. Among such tools the one being most developed at present is the technique of meteorological (weather) radar. Its development began already about 50 years ago. Weather radar makes it possible to carry out continuous monitoring of clouds and precipitation. Transition to digital processing and automatisation of both the acquisition of weather radar data and their meteorological interpretation change essentially the volume, quality and quick availability of the information obtained. This increases the number of real and potential users.

Since 1985, the Automated Complex for Meteorological Radar Collection, Processing and Presentation (ACSOPRI) had been installed and now functions in the operational regime on the basis of two-wave (3 and 10 cm) weather radar MRL-5. The complex allows to perform automatic continuous radar atmosphere sensing, the radar data registration and processing as well as selection of important meteorological information and its presentation in a user-friendly manner. The information is obtained every 10 minutes with a spatial resolution of 2x2 km within a radius of 200 km.

Since the very beginning of their work the ACSOPRI complexes are widely used by different customers. Their number has constantly increased with the improvement of the complex software. Operational data of the "Moscow" complex is continuously transmitted via telephone lines into the Russian Main Hydrometeorological Centre. Since 1989, the data are directly fed into the Moscow Automated System of Air Traffic Control. Since 1994, the weather radar information is transmitted into the Road Maintenance Office of the Moscow Government and other organisations dealing with road problems.

In 1994, the first part of the Weather Radar System "Moscow Ring" had been introduced into operational service. It consists of three complexes installed in Moscow, Kaluga and Tver and thus covers a territory of 600 km in North-South direction and 450 km from West to East. This system is further developed so as to allow better observation within the sector of prevailing trajectories of cloud frontal system invasions into the Moscow region.

Based on experience of the information analysis methodical decisions have been made and software for reliable identification of lightning and thunderstorm clouds, hail, squalls and gust winds has been developed. They allow operational warning of aviation service and population. Determination of intensity and accumulated amount of both liquid and solid precipitation under the two-wave observation have been essentially improved. We may also make extrapolation prediction of winter precipitations for a time window 1 to 34 hours in advance for road organisations in both Moscow and Moscow region.

Results are presented of the reliability of estimates of the thunderstorm cloud identification and the accuracy of precipitation measurements together with examples of the ACSOPRI data use for the nowcasting and storm warning. Highlighted are two catastrophic events: the thunderstorm in summer 1997 which claimed several human lives and the unusual snowfall on 1213 April 1998.