Ireland’s national weather service Met Éireann is set to replace the weather radar at Shannon Airport with a new upgraded system with enhanced capabilities.
Together with the weather radar at Dublin Airport, the Shannon radar forms Ireland’s national weather radar network, providing information on the location and intensity of precipitation across the country.
The new weather radar system in Shannon will provide enhanced precipitation measurement capabilities, resulting in benefits for Met Éireann forecasting services and for the rainfall radar maps offered to the public.
This is the first step of a planned futureproofing process to strategically develop and expand the capability of the overall national weather radar network maintained by Met Éireann over the next decade. Replacement work is starting in May and is expected to be completed by autumn 2023.
The current Shannon weather radar is a C-band single-polarization radar, which was installed in 1996 and upgraded in 2010. It uses a radar pulse with a wavelength of 5.6cm. This wavelength is suited to operation in Ireland, as it is sensitive enough to detect light rain and drizzle.
The new radar will be dual-polarized, with the ability to discern between types of precipitation such as rain, heavy rain, snow and sleet, as well as improved performance in discerning precipitation from objects such as buildings or birds.
Sarah Gallagher, head of the observations division in Met Éireann, said, “As part of our continual improvement, Met Éireann looks forward to delivering this state-of-the-art weather radar that will serve the south-west and national public for many years to come with high quality precipitation observations. Ireland’s weather radar data is fundamental to the provision of accurate forecasts and weather warnings, supporting emergency management and the protection of life and property.”