New Plymouth weather radar

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New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Weather Watcher »

The new New Plymouth weather radar became operational at 5pm today (Tuesday 20 May). Imagery is currently available on the New Zealand composite radar product on the MetService website. Other products from the radar will eventually come online over the next couple of weeks. This radar is similar to the Invercargill radar, and will serve as a dual purpose balloon tracking and weather surveillance radar. This means the radar is not quite as sensitive as the larger Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury radars (particularly at long range), and will not record weather data 3 times a day when it's performing balloon tracking duties.

Here is the NZ radar image at 5pm which is the first image including the New Plymouth radar...
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by gllitz »

Weather Watcher wrote:The new New Plymouth weather radar became operational at 5pm today (Tuesday 20 May). Imagery is currently available on the New Zealand composite radar product on the MetService website. Other products from the radar will eventually come online over the next couple of weeks. This radar is similar to the Invercargill radar, and will serve as a dual purpose balloon tracking and weather surveillance radar. This means the radar is not quite as sensitive as the larger Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury radars (particularly at long range), and will not record weather data 3 times a day when it's performing balloon tracking duties.

Here is the NZ radar image at 5pm which is the first image including the New Plymouth radar...
=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

So...any plans on putting up one or two on the West Coast of the South Island, too? :-k :-k

EDIT: My thoughts would be perhaps put them near Cape Foulwind and Jackson Bay....
Last edited by gllitz on Tue 20/05/2008 17:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Inny Binny »

gllitz wrote:
Weather Watcher wrote:The new New Plymouth weather radar became operational at 5pm today (Tuesday 20 May). Imagery is currently available on the New Zealand composite radar product on the MetService website. Other products from the radar will eventually come online over the next couple of weeks. This radar is similar to the Invercargill radar, and will serve as a dual purpose balloon tracking and weather surveillance radar. This means the radar is not quite as sensitive as the larger Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury radars (particularly at long range), and will not record weather data 3 times a day when it's performing balloon tracking duties.

Here is the NZ radar image at 5pm which is the first image including the New Plymouth radar...
=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

So...any plans on putting up one or two on the West Coast of the South Island, too? :-k :-k
Ditto to all that.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

good news!
will help alot for the NI wetern areas!
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Myself »

gllitz wrote:
Weather Watcher wrote:The new New Plymouth weather radar became operational at 5pm today (Tuesday 20 May). Imagery is currently available on the New Zealand composite radar product on the MetService website. Other products from the radar will eventually come online over the next couple of weeks. This radar is similar to the Invercargill radar, and will serve as a dual purpose balloon tracking and weather surveillance radar. This means the radar is not quite as sensitive as the larger Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury radars (particularly at long range), and will not record weather data 3 times a day when it's performing balloon tracking duties.

Here is the NZ radar image at 5pm which is the first image including the New Plymouth radar...
=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

So...any plans on putting up one or two on the West Coast of the South Island, too? :-k :-k

EDIT: My thoughts would be perhaps put them near Cape Foulwind and Jackson Bay....

......I can be fairly sure that weather radars are *extremely* expensive.

And, it's a fair guess that Napier would be a higher priority than the West Coast if there's anymore coming up in the near future.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by David »

Myself wrote:I can be fairly sure that weather radars are *extremely* expensive.
Yes, and it is money well spent for the New Plymouth radar...a lot of active fronts and thunderstorm activity in the Tasman make first landfall on Taranaki, and after the damaging tornadoes in that region last July the radar will be a great help in foreseeing severe weather approaching.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Myself »

David wrote:
Myself wrote:I can be fairly sure that weather radars are *extremely* expensive.
Yes, and it is money well spent for the New Plymouth radar...a lot of active fronts and thunderstorm activity in the Tasman make first landfall on Taranaki, and after the damaging tornadoes in that region last July the radar will be a great help in foreseeing severe weather approaching.
I totally agree that it's money well spent. I think it's unrealistic that as soon as a new radar goes up (what do they cost? 1 million or so?) gllitz is practically on the dog and bone asking when there'll be "one or two" installed (presumably overnight?) on the West Coast.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by gllitz »

Uhm, I wasn't expecting them to go up overnight [-X ](*,) ...and I would say any money spent on potentially saving lives is well spent, is it not? :roll: :) ....but of course, just my $0.02 worth. ;)
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

Where's the BOP one I was told was going on Puwhenua?

Sigh.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Weather Watcher »

There will be more new weather radars installed around New Zealand during the next few years. The next one will be in the Gisborne/Hawkes Bay region, and should be operational by this time next year. This will be followed by one in Bay of Plenty about 6 months later. Further radars are planned for the South Island and the Far North. Weather radars are very expensive items, and there is quite a lot involved in getting one up and running but MetService is committed to expanding the network.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by ricky »

Weather Watcher wrote:This radar is similar to the Invercargill radar, and will serve as a dual purpose balloon tracking and weather surveillance radar.
Is there a new baloon flight associated with the site?
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

So long as someone from Metservice realises that there is radio equipment (for Tiakai Plantations) up at Puwhenua in the BOP. My contact and I had a discussion about it, he was convinced there wasn't and I couldn't convince him there was. The equipment is maintained by Alcom in Rotorua (Where I used to work), it's managed by Bill Goodall from Communication Network Management Limited.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Vertigo »

i think a radar station on the SI west coast would be the most needed, but after that i would rather see more near realtime data from the stations. would this ever be possible?
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Weather Watcher »

ricky wrote: Is there a new balloon flight associated with the site?
No, it's not new. There have been balloon flights there for years but they are wind only (no upper temps etc).

Regarding the Bay of Plenty radar, it has still not been decided where it will be located.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Myself »

Sorry gllitz, went overboard with the "overnight" comment.
Vertigo wrote:i think a radar station on the SI west coast would be the most needed, but after that i would rather see more near realtime data from the stations. would this ever be possible?
I think there's a fair few stations that give minute-by-minute data (eg Kelburn). I imagine to upgrade the whole network would be a considerable job....but probably cheaper than installing even one new weather radar. ;)
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by NZ Thunderstorm Soc »

Good to hear about another weather radar becoming operational, with another doppler covering rainfall around the Taranaki area. The next one hopefully will cover the Gisborne/East Cape area and with this the whole of NZ should be covered.


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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

The next one hopefully will cover the Gisborne/East Cape area and with this the whole of NZ should be covered.
except the west coast of the SI, which looks to be later in the schedule
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

the new plymouth rain radar is working great at showing up shower lines moving right through the central NI....(i.e Taupo area)
a real bonus for that whole area....including the King Country and Wanganui :)
It will also be great for when doing storm chasing in the lower Waikato (when ever that every may occur again!)
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Weather Watcher »

The New Plymouth radar is doing really well, probably a little better than expected. It was located at New Plymouth to fill in the western side of the North Island between the Auckland and Wellington radars, and as we have seen in recent days it appears to be doing a great job picking up the precip in those western areas from South Waikato/King Country down to Wanganui. Although the site for the new Bay of Plenty radar has not yet been chosen, it will be a site that will provide good coverage of eastern/southern Waikato and Taupo as well over the Bay of Plenty. I think once the expanded radar network is completed in 3-4 years we will have very good radar coverage, especially over the North Island (all those beam-blocking mountains in the South Island are a bit of a problem!).
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by jrj »

It is also showing the rain in Hawke's Bay today.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

Weather Watcher wrote:The New Plymouth radar is doing really well, probably a little better than expected.
I'm wondering where it is located. Are you allowed to tell?
Weather Watcher wrote:that will provide good coverage of eastern/southern Waikato and Taupo as well over the Bay of Plenty.
That's no easy task! Makes me want to dig out my photo albums and look at the horizon shots from some of the sites I've worked at. I suspect the Kaimai/Mamaku's etc would shadow Puwhenua a little too much for that coverage.

Must resist urge to look at topographical maps ;)
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by jrj »

Not quite on topic, but I note that the MetService 7-day rainfall forecast charts now include isobars.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Weather Watcher »

tgsnoopy wrote:
Weather Watcher wrote:The New Plymouth radar is doing really well, probably a little better than expected.
I'm wondering where it is located. Are you allowed to tell?
It's at New Plymouth airport, on top of the MetService building there.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by Myself »

There is an article on the Metservice site now:

http://www.metservice.com/default/index ... ningcentre

It is often said that technology advances in leaps and bounds. In the case of New Zealand’s weather radars it has been more case of leaps followed by long periods of steady-as-she-goes. The New Plymouth radar, which was officially opened by Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven on 30 May, marks the first step of a series of new radars that truly will extend our network and capabilities for the 21st century.

Through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the closest we came to weather radar were “RAREP” observations obtained by switching balloon tracking radars at places like Auckland Airport, Ohakea, Kelburn, Christchurch and Invercargill to surveillance mode several times a day, manually tracing precipitation echoes onto transparent acetate sheets, and coding the geographic extent, and intensity, of the precipitation echoes into teleprinter messages distributed to the forecast offices. Rainfall intensity and echo “tops” were determined by manually adjusting the radar gain and elevation to establish when the echoes faded out. Extraordinarily primitive by today’s standards I’m sure you’ll agree!

The first real leap in our radar capability came with the first Ericsson radar, installed at Mt Tamahunga, north of Auckland, in 1989. This ‘real’ weather radar, ushered in the era of fully automated and virtually continuous volume and Doppler scans and sophisticated (for the time) imagery processing, and was quickly followed by further dedicated weather radars at Outlook Hill and Rakaia.

A fourth radar, but very much the poor relation to the Ericssons, went into operation at Invercargill in the mid 90s. Primarily installed for balloon tracking, with RAREP observations as a secondary function, Invercargill became our first truly dual-purpose radar when RAPIC weather radar software, developed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, was installed in 1994. With RAPIC, the role of the Invercargill radar moved from being primarily an upper air balloon tracker to being an almost fulltime weather radar. [It’s worth noting here that until very recently the Australian radar network was almost entirely based on dual purpose balloon tracking/RAPIC weather radars, with Sydney and Darwin the sole dedicated Doppler weather radars.] Although the idea of following the Invercargill model at New Plymouth was first mooted in the late 1990s, dissatisfaction with the performance of RAPIC (compared with the much more capable Ericsson radars) sidelined the initiative.

Everything changed with another technology leap in 2006 when the by then ageing Ericssons were upgraded with new SIGMET processors and software. As part of that project, the Invercargill RAPIC was replaced with a SIGMET system that provided Doppler capability and integrated its data with the Ericssons’. Suddenly, and beyond our expectations, Invercargill became almost as capable as the three dedicated systems, and the idea of as similar dual purpose radar at New Plymouth came to the fore again. Plans for the New Plymouth radar were finally cemented when the Government’s 2007 budget announced an increase in MetService’s MOT contract funding, including provision for three additional weather radars.

Although the civil engineering work for New Plymouth (adding a 7 metre tower to the existing building) was much simpler than what’s required for the upcoming Mahia and Bay of Plenty radars, the radar itself presented some significant challenges. Firstly, the small X-band balloon tracking radar at New Plymouth had to be switched around with Paraparaumu’s more powerful C-band system. Relocating radars that had been operating in-situ for many years meant risking serious faults when the equipment was dismantled and transported. The risk was heightened for the C-band radar, which had never been used in surveillance mode, and required extensive reconfiguration before it could be used as a weather radar. Fortunately, the MetData Services engineering team overcame the numerous problems encountered, and, with the assistance of radar specialists from Vaisala/SIGMET the newly-installed C-band was upgraded to a weather radar over 2 days in May.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long for further enhancements to the radar network: Mahia should be operating by about this time next year; Bay of Plenty by mid 2010; and, thanks to the 2008 Budget, these will be quickly followed by Northland and West Coast radars.
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Re: New Plymouth weather radar

Unread post by ricky »

Great to have some information on these..
Who are the lucky people who get to see the doppler relatve velocity and volume scan data?
Perhaps since the government is funding some of them we should ask them to have all the data made public ;)
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