NCAS Radar Credit NCASPress Release : 05/05/2012 for immediate release

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has partnered with the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), the University of Leeds, Scottish Water and the Met Office to improve our understanding of rainfall and flood predictions in Scotland. 

The new initiative follows commitments by SEPA and the Scottish Government to improve our understanding of rainfall and flood predictions. 

The project will involve the deployment of NCAS’ Mobile X-band Radar to Kinloss, Scotland, from January to July 2016, to observe clouds and measure rainfall. The observations from the NCAS radar, will be used alongside the existing Met Office radar network to study precipitation and flooding.

This will be the first in-depth study of clouds, precipitation and their links to flooding in Scotland. The NCAS radar is capable of measuring clouds and precipitation in remote locations and is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Dr Lindsay Bennett from NCAS at the University of Leeds, who operates the radar, said: “By deploying this radar in this location, we can provide high resolution observations of the precipitation in the Inverness and the Moray Firth area. Using this data we aim to improve the understanding of rainfall and the predictions of floods in Scotland.”Co-ordinating the effort between partners will allow the cutting-edge meteorological research and data from the radar to be translated into real improvements of flood forecasts and defences. The Met Office is a partner organisation with SEPA in the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, which brings together meteorological and hydrological expertise in providing flood forecasting and warning services.

Michael Cranston, SEPA’s Forecasting and Warning Manager, said: “The winter of 2015/16 has already seen devastating floods across several parts of the country and Scotland has been reminded just how horrendous the effects and impacts of flooding can be for people. SEPA is committed to reducing the risk caused by floods by improving our ability to predict flooding, which is why we have funded this new research project. Innovation like this increases our knowledge, which leads to better forecasting, which ultimately helps our partners and those at direct risk to prepare and reduce the impacts of flooding on their lives.”

Dr Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said: “Recent flood events have shown the importance of flood warning in supporting informed and effective responses. This initiative will help enhance SEPA’s flood forecasting capacity and delivery of the recently published flood risk management strategies.”

In addition to the rainfall data that NCAS will provide to SEPA, scientists from NCAS and the University of Leeds will be analysing a range of other information that the radar produces. These more sophisticated observations will be used to better understand how much rainfall comes from certain types of clouds during the winter and spring.

Photo Caption: (From left-right) Jim Sharp (Met Office), Dr Ryan Neely (NCAS/University of Leeds), Dr Lindsay Bennett (NCAS/University of Leeds), Michael Cranston (SEPA) in front of the NCAS X-band Radar.
Credit: National Centre for Atmospheric Science

Notes to Editors
For further information, please contact Dr Felicity Perry, NCAS Communications Manager on 0113 3434212 or 07713 092864 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further information about the research project -

The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service, providing 24x7 world-renowned scientific excellence in weather, climate and environmental forecasts and severe weather warnings for the protection of life and property.

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) is a world leader in atmospheric science. Research areas include climate, atmospheric physics, atmospheric composition, modelling and atmospheric observations. NCAS scientists at the University of Leeds are part of the School of Earth and Environment

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s national flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management authority. SEPA’s flood warning service includes Floodline; a 24 hour telephone and online information service covering all of Scotland. To operate the service, SEPA monitors river levels, rainfall, tidal predictions and weather forecasts. SEPA is also responsible for providing advice to local authorities on flood risk for planning purposes and for the national co-ordination of flood risk management planning in Scotland and the production of national flood hazard and risk maps

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 31,000 students from 147 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group research-intensive universities. We are a top 10 university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and positioned as one of the top 100 best universities in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings.