SC100004 - Rainfall Radar Merging

Theme:Incident Management and Community
Project status:Completed
Start date:23/11/2010
End date:31/10/2016


Overall objective

This research contributed to a larger project that aimed to improve the accuracy and lead time of our flood warnings. Our objective was to develop the best spatial picture of rainfall that the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and Met Office could collectively deliver in as near to real time as possible. This would help provide a more accurate answer on how much rain had fallen during a flood event. This information could then be fed into our river forecasting models to improve the accuracy and lead time of river forecasts, resulting in better flood warnings. 


Working with the Met Office we have developed a new rainfall product. This product combines the point accuracy of rain gauges with the spatial coverage provided by radar. By doing this we get the best of both in one merged product. It uses rain-gauge data from the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, and the Met Office in real time, combined with data from the radar network. The improved rainfall data from the merged product will help improve our future flood forecasting and lead to better flood warnings. 

Quality control of the rain-gauge data was an important step in the process to create the merged product. To do this the project developed an automated process for quality controlling rain gauge data in near real time. This highlights where there may be suspected problems with rain gauges, so sites can be investigated to correct the problem. 

Next steps

The merged product has yet to be fully implemented. It is undergoing testing. After testing we expect it will feed into the river flood forecasting models at both national and local scales operated by the Environment Agency and Flood Forecasting Centre.  And the Met Office are likely to use the merged product to help verify their various rainfall forecasting products.

More information

You can read about the findings of this research in the conference papers which you will find under the documents tab above.

For more information on the operational application of this research contact us.  

For more information on the science behind the merging, contact the Met Office