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As part of SEPA’s Flood Warning Strategy (2012-2016), SEPA has committed to increasing their understanding of the spatial representation and real time measurement of rainfall. Activities associated with this include reviewing the UK's weather radar network and its suitability for flood warning provision and making recommendations for future improvements (including new and temporary installations to help increase the probability of detection (POD) of intense rainfall by radar as shown in the figure below).

In order to meet this strategic objective SEPA has partnered with NCAS and the University of Leeds' School of Earth and Environment to conduct a pilot project in the North of Scotland from January to July 2016 using the NCAS Mobile X-band Radar.

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. The Met Office therefore has a close interest in improving rainfall radar coverage in Scotland. This project is funded by SEPA and managed via a Steering Group comprising other interested partner organisations, namely the Met Office and Scottish Water.

Scottish Water has a ministerial objective to ‘Investigate and improve, where necessary, an integrated approach to catchment modelling including improved monitoring of rainfall, river and surface water flows in partnership with other agencies'.

Thus, the overall aims of RAINS are to answer:

1) What are the benefits of high temporal and spatial resolution radar precipitation estimates for flood forecasting in Northern Scotland?

2) How do dual-polarisation radar observations improve rainfall estimates used in flood forecasting?

For more information about flood forecasting in Northern Scotland see: http://floodforecastingservice.net 


                          pod image

Figure 1: The POD gives the proportion of events that are detected correctly, where a radar estimate is confirmed by a gauge reading on the ground, therefore the perfect score would be 1.  The analysis highlights areas in the Inverness/Great Glen area and South West Scotland that score poorly. (Worsford, Norman and Harrison, 2013, Analysis of Scottish radar coverage using high density rain-gauge network. Met Office)