McGill S-band radar

The S-band radar is the main radar system at the McGill Atmospheric Profiling Observatory. Inaugurated in 1968, it has run essentially continuously since barring periodic upgrades. The radar was upgraded to make Doppler measurements in 1992 and dual-polarization measurements in 1999.

This radar is used for weather surveillance, providing data in real-time to various users including the local weather office, as well as for meteorological research and the development of automated algorithms of weather detection and identification.

Getting more technical

With a 700 kW Klystron transmitter and a 9 m (30') dish, the S-band radar is the largest weather radar in Canada. The transmission uses a combination of pulse repetition frequencies in order to maximize the range for which reflectivity and velocity information can be obtained. Dual-polarization information is obtained by transmitting at a 45° polarization, and receiving horizontally and vertically polarized waves simultaneously.

The radar scans the atmosphere by using a regular scanning strategy. Data are collected at 24 elevations angles (from 0.5° to 34.4°) every 5 min. These raw data are then used to generate a variety of products and displays.

Samples of data collected by the McGill S-band radar and their interpretation be found in the example pages.