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Helping Business Weather the Storm

Comparing Mosaic Radar to Single Site Radar Inside the WeatherOps Platform

by David Moran, on Apr 18, 2018 1:49:32 PM

Radar can provide valuable information about precipitation approaching or currently impacting a region. In WeatherOps Commander, you have access to both mosaic radar and RadarScope's local radar sites.

If you're viewing the entire U.S., our native mosaic radar is the best tool to use. Mosaic imagery is stitched together from WSR-88D radars across the country. However, the data is smoothed and, while it is a great product to obtain a quick, general idea where the weather is happening, it is not the timeliest or most detailed data available.

Once you've determined that precipitation is occurring in an area you're interested in, you can switch the mosaic off and view the closest RadarScope site. The RadarScope option in Commander shows data for one individual radar site out to a range of approximately 143 miles. Using RadarScope will provide more frequent updates and is more precise than smoothed data of the mosaic. 

The differences between the mosaic radar and RadarScope imagery can be seen when making a comparison. Below is an image of a rain and snow mix in the Northern Rockies using the mosaic radar. In this image, there are a few things worth noting. If you look at areas where snow (blues) changes to rain (greens and yellows), you'll notice the changeover is relatively abrupt and very smooth looking. While this gives you a general overview of what is happening, the transition zones are not well handled. 

North American Radar 4/12/18Mosaic Radar from WeatherOps Commander

Now, let's look at the same view in RadarScope (below). Here we see the transition in precipitation type doesn't appear to be as abrupt and as uniform as in the top image. Another difference is that while the transition zone is right over Great Falls in the first image, it's further to the east in this one because the data is flowing faster than a mosaic. Using a single radar site can give a more precise look at what type of precipitation is falling and where it is occurring.

RadarScope Image of Rain and Snow in Montana 4/12/18RadarScope Image of Rain and Snow in Montana

Both the mosaic view and RadarScope options can provide a lot of information. While RadarScope can show you what's happening in a relatively small region, the mosaic view can give you an overview of what's going on well beyond the range of a single site. Understanding the differences between these two products, as well as the limitations, can help you make more informed decisions regarding what products may be most applicable to your situation.