In Europe, the future climate predictions point towards a more frequent occurrence of severe, short and very local rain storms. In cities, with dense urbanisation and infrastructure (port, airport, highways, …), this shall lead to more frequent activities disruptions at street level. Insurers already report that weather-related natural threat and catastrophes are rising rapidly. It is estimated that weather (and especially rainfall) impacts 30% of global GDP including all commercial activities with 70% of them exposed to severe weather risks, mostly concentrated in cities. An increasing number of city governments and corporates will have to manage weather risks more proactively in the near future.
However, such initiative is largely hampered by the lack of quality and detection of the rainfall information provided to assess and manage their actions at city level. Weather disruptions are more and more occurring at scales much smaller than the best observation resolution of the European weather radar network (OPERA). To handle this discrepancy, current weather-based city solutions are mainly relying on numerical simulations that are often disconnected from the real meteorological situation at specific locations, and therefore underused for local rainfall management applications. In atmospheric research, state-of-the-art polarimetric and Doppler X-band radar processing systems are used for the last decade, mainly in rural area, to derive rainfall microphysical information and study rainfall processes at resolutions that resolve the local rainfall variability.
In this project, we propose to demonstrate that, with a substantial upgrade of the current rainfall detection and processing methodology, the X-band weather radar technology could be converted to a societal and commercial HD weather asset that is more beneficial for cities, so that they can better manage rainfall disruptions and create a substantial market potential for new smart city, HD weather-based applications.