The Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar at Aberystwyth is the UK's most powerful and versatile wind-profiling instrument. The traditional method of measuring the wind is to track the movement of a radiosonde - an instrumented, helium-filled, meteorological balloon - as it rises up through the atmosphere. However, radiosondes are rarely launched at intervals of less than 6 hours and so can only be used to provide information about the large-scale weather patterns.
By contrast, the MST radar is operated on a continuous basis and provides measurements of the wind every few minutes. The data consequently provides unique opportunities for atmospheric research. Moreover, the Met Office make operational use of the data for numerical weather prediction purposes.