The latest biennial report from the Inter-Agency Committee on the Hydrological Use of Weather Radar (IACHUWR) was recently published by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). The Committee comprises representatives from government departments and agencies, universities and the private sector, all with a common interest in making sure that the hydrological community continues to gain maximum benefit from the UK’s weather radar network.

The new publication reviews the latest developments in hydrological use of weather radar including significant advances in the operational use of CEH’s grid-based hydrological model (G2G) within UK flood warning agencies. This includes ongoing research focusing on flood forecasting for rapid response catchments using G2G combined with the latest ensemble rainfall forecasts. A development of CEH’s Hyrad system - used for real-time receipt, processing and display of weather radar data - can map the rarity of rainfall for different depths and durations. Utilising CEH’s Flood Estimation Handbook rainfall depth-duration-frequency model, this helps facilitate near-real-time assessments of urban drainage system performance compliance to the regulatory framework and a range of other water management applications.

A major achievement of the Committee over the last two years was leading the organisation of the 8th International Symposium on Weather Radar and Hydrology (WRaH 2011). The symposium attracted more than 140 presentations and 250 delegates spanning four continents. CEH played a key role in supporting the symposium, providing six papers, and CEH researchers Bob Moore and Steve Cole edited the Symposium Proceedings, which were published as an IAHS Red Book.

WRaH 2011 highlighted the growing scientific research, development and application in the field of weather radar and hydrology. The UK element of this activity is captured in the updated Bibliography on Hydrological Applications of Weather Radar in the United Kingdom which accompanies the new biennial report.

Traditionally, the primary application of weather radar in the UK is to support flood forecasting and warning: for example, the countrywide systems that use the G2G hydrological model across England, Wales and Scotland. However, there is an emerging radar rainfall community within the water management sector that the Committee surveyed, before producing a report summarising the findings.

Moving into the next reporting session, the Committee has planned initiatives to build on the findings of the water management survey and to raise awareness of the latest developments in weather radar and water management applications to the wider water industry community.

Bob Moore and Steven Cole from CEH are the NERC representative and Technical Secretary for the IACHUWR Committee respectively.

Additional information

Inter-Agency Committee on the Hydrological Use of Weather Radar. Eighth report 2010 to 2012

Bibliography on hydrological applications of weather radar in the United Kingdom. Eighth edition (publications notified up to December 2011)

Hydrological Applications of Weather Radar - Summary of Findings and Conclusions from Survey distributed by the Inter-Agency Committee on the Hydrological Use of Weather Radar

Related CEH News

8th International Symposium on Weather Radar and Hydrology - 27 April 2011

Six IAHS Red Book WRaH 2011 papers

Countrywide flood forecasting in Scotland: challenges for hydrometeorological model uncertainty and prediction

Raingauge quality-control algorithms and the potential benefits for radar-based hydrological modelling

Representing the spatial variability of rainfall for input to the G2G distributed flood forecasting model: operational experience from the Flood Forecasting Centre

Use of weather radar by the water industry in Scotland

Weather radar and hydrology: a UK operational perspective

A new FEH rainfall depth-duration-frequency model for hydrological applications




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