Chilbolton Facility for Atmospheric and Radio Research
Chilbolton Facility for Atmospheric and Radio Research (CFARR) is one of the world's most advanced meteorological radar experimental facilities, and is home to the world's largest fully steerable meteorological radar, the Chilbolton Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa). Live data from Chilbolton are showcased on the Chilbolton Weather Web. (link opens in a new window)
In addition to our ongoing research programmes in meteorology and radio propagation, Chilbolton Observatory (link opens in a new window)frequently hosts visiting experiments and research teams from universities and other research organisations, both from the UK and abroad.
Scientists use Chilbolton Observatory's sophisticated radar, lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) and radiometer instruments to characterise the atmosphere by making detailed measurements of water vapour, cloud, aerosol particles and precipitation such as rainfall. These measurements are helping to improve the prediction of climate change and severe weather conditions. They also monitor how the atmosphere impacts upon radio communication systems.
Research helps scientists and meteorologists:
- understand how clouds form and develop into rain or storm clouds
- investigate the effects of cloud composition, such as ice particle shape and orientation, on the Earth's energy balance
- understand the properties and impact of aerosols in the atmosphere
One of the main research tools at Chilbolton is the 25m fully steerable antenna. The high-power 3 GHz radar (CAMra) is installed on this antenna and can detect anything from aircraft to insects.
CAMra provides high resolution, long range measurements of all types of precipitation such as rain, snow and hail. Other instruments include:
- cloud, rain and clear air radar systems
- doppler lidar for measuring the boundary layer turbulence in the atmosphere
- high power UV lidar for measuring aerosol and water vapour profiles
- radiometers for profiling water vapour
- disdrometers for measuring the drop size distribution of rain
- meterological sensors
Chilbolton's 25m CAMra antenna is also being used for the in-orbit testing of the Galileo satellites, Europe's first global navigation satellite system.
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