Maintenance Keeps Radars Running

Saltikoff, Elena ; Kurri, Mikko ; Leijnse, Hidde ; Barbosa, Sergio ; Stiansen, Kjetil

Année de publication
Weather radars provide us with colorful images of storms, their development, and their movement, but from time to time the radars fail and we are left without data. To minimize these disruptions, owners of weather radars carry out preventive maintenance.The European radar project Operational Programme for the Exchange of Weather Radar Information (OPERA) conducted a survey among technicians from 21 countries on their experiences of maintenance. Regular maintenance frequency varies widely from as frequent as weekly to as infrequent as 6 months. Results show that the primary causes of missing data are not the failure of radar components and software or lack of maintenance but rather issues with the electricity supplies or telecommunications. Where issues are with the radars themselves, they are most commonly with the transmitter or the antenna controllers. Faults can be repaired quickly, but, if certain parts are required or the site is very remote, a radar can be out of service for weeks or even months. Failures of electricity or communications may also lead to lengthy periods of unavailability. As an example there is a story from Norway where wintertime thunderstorms severely damaged a radar at a very remote location.Annual operative costs of a radar are typically on the order of 5%-10% of the radar purchase price. During the lifetime of a system (typically 10?20 years) the operator can hence pay as much for the running costs as for the hardware purchase. It is extremely important to take infrastructure, maintenance, and monitoring into account when purchasing a new radar.

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