Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Microwave Radiometer?

A very sensitive passive radio receiver capable of detecting tiny amounts of microwave energy emitted from the atmosphere. By using these measurements with known physics (equations), some meteorological measurements at ground level, and with years of historical data from radiosondes (weather balloons), the radiometer derives temperature, water vapor, and liquid water profiles.

What are temperature, water vapor, and liquid water profiles?

A microwave profiling radiometer that produces temperature and water vapor profiles is often referred to as a thermodynamic profiler. The Radiometrics MP-3000A thermodynamic profiler generates profiles from the surface to 10km height, and also provides liquid water profiles over this same range. The MP-3000A uses proprietary neural network techniques to convert the radiometric brightness temperatures to atmospheric profiles.

What is a radiometer used for?

There are many applications of radiometers from augmenting weather balloon soundings (radiosondes) for data to feed into “data hungry” weather models, to fog predictions, to air quality measurements and predictions, to utility load forecasting and wind farm management to a variety of proprietary applications. The photo above shows fog around the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Knowing when the fog will form and dissipate is important information for maritime, aviation, and utility companies. (The photo is by -danieli.)

Radiometers are also useful for other non-weather related applications. Examples include: sensing characteristics of snow pack, vegetation, soil moisture, chemical plumes, and many other applications.

What is a Radar Wind Profiler?

A remote sensing system that uses radiolocation techniques to create vertical profiles of wind speed and direction. Depending on the radar wind profiler (RWP) transmit frequency, transmit power, and antenna size, an RWP can measure winds from 100 m above ground level (AGL) to as high as 20 km AGL. Radiometrics manufactures, installs and services the RAPTOR™ brand RWP systems.

What is a Sodar?

An acoustic wind profiler that uses sound rather than radiowaves for ranging and detection. Sodars, or acoustic wind profilers, provide high vertical resolution and can measure winds as low as 10 m AGL. While very large sodar systems can measure winds above 1 km, most sodar systems are designed to measure up to 200 m. Since sodars utilize sound waves, they perform best in quiet locations, and themselves can be noisy neighbors. Radiometrics is the North American distributor for REMTECH sodars, and offers the AWP-4500 acoustic wind profiler.

What is a Radiosonde?

Also known as weather balloons, the World Meteorological Organization defines a Radiosonde as, “an Instrument intended to be carried by a balloon through the atmosphere, equipped with devices to measure one or several meteorological variables (pressure, temperature, humidity, etc.), and provided with a radio transmitter for sending this information to the observing station.”

Radiosondes are the industry standard measurement technique , so what are the benefits of thermodynamic profilers and radar wind profilers?

Radiosondes are typically launched twice daily from a limited number of locations worldwide (some locations launch 4 times per day, and many locations may launch additional radiosondes when severe weather events are likely). Remote sensing systems such as the MP-3000A thermodynamic profiler and RAPTOR RWP provide continuous atmospheric profiles, analogous to a video of the atmosphere vs. twice or four times daily “snapshots” from radiosondes. The continuous profiles (typically updated every five minutes) provide both current atmospheric conditions, and can be used by meteorologists for trend analysis to improve predictions of difficult-to-forecast conditions such as fog and inversions. Additionally. radiosondes can be blown off-course by wind, and are often not launched during severe weather, so remote sensor observations are more uniform from day-to-day.

What engineering efforts are being applied to improve your products?

Our expert R&D team is continuously improving and inventing new software products and features for both hardware and software. Although we keep the new development confidential, you can rest assured our products will continue to improve, as they already have for more than 20 years.

What is your warranty policy?

Radiometrics offers one or two-year warranties. Extended warranties are also available.

More detailed questions can be answered by contacting us.