Met Éireann replaces weather radar at Shannon Airport – Met Éireann

Work to install a new weather radar system begins this month

May 19, 2023

Met Éireann has announced that it will replace the existing weather radar at Shannon Airport to install a brand new weather radar system with upgraded technology and capabilities. This is the first step in a future planning process to strategically develop and expand the capacity of the comprehensive national weather radar network maintained by Met Éireann, over this decade and the next.

Shannon Weather Radar is part of the National Weather Radar Network, which currently consists of two weather radars, one located at Shannon Airport and the other at Dublin Airport. This weather radar network provides a constant stream of information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via the Met Éireann website and app, and is used to provide information about the location and intensity of rainfall across Ireland. A new weather radar system at Shannon will provide improved rainfall measurement capabilities. This will result in benefits to Met Éireann forecast services and rainfall radar maps provided to the public.

fig. 1-2: Current Shannon Airport radar (on the right the radar dome can be seen on top of the airport building)

Replacement work begins in May and is expected to be completed by autumn 2023. During this period there will be a modified radar service in the south and west of the country, with a temporary weather radar system operating from Cork. Throughout the radar replacement period, Met Éireann’s forecast services will continue as normal, however, changes can be expected to the radar image displayed on ‘Latest Radar’ on and on the Met Éireann app, for the south and west of Ireland. This is because the radar image will display information collected from the weather radar at Dublin Airport, the temporary radar in County Cork and two UK Met Office weather radars in Belfast and Wales, where available.

Figure 3: Example of current "Latest radar" Pictured on, with a temporary radar from Cork operating during replacement work

Figure 3: Example of the current ‘latest radar’ image on, with a temporary radar from Cork in operation during replacement work

The Shannon Current Weather Radar is a C-band monopolarized radar, installed in 1996 and upgraded in 2010. It uses a radar pulse with a wavelength of 5.6 cm. This wavelength is suitable for working in Ireland, as it is sensitive enough to detect light rain and drizzle (common forms of precipitation).

The new Shannon radar to be installed at Shannon Airport will be dual-polarised. Dual-polarization weather radars include the latest technology and software with the ability to distinguish between types of precipitation such as rain, heavy rain, snow, and sleet, and they also have better performance than single-polarization radars in distinguishing precipitation from objects such as buildings or birds.

Figure 3: Dual polarization data shows the type of precipitation falling based on its shape (Image source: NOAA)

Figure 4: Dual polarization data showing the type of precipitation falling based on its shape (Image source: NOAA)

Sarah Gallagher, Head of Monitoring at Met Éireann, said: “As part of our continuous improvement, Met Éireann looks forward to introducing cutting-edge weather radar that will serve the south-west and national public for many years to come with high-quality rainfall observations. Weather radar data in Ireland is key to providing accurate weather forecasts and warnings, and supporting emergency management And protect lives and property.

Want to learn more about weather radar and how Met Éireann uses it?

  • Check out our latest podcast How Weather Radar Works here (Season 4, Episode 4), with radar meteorologist Sinéad Duffy.
Image of The Met Éireann podcast player - Episode 10/27 How weather radar works, with Sinead Duffy

Met Éireann Podcast – Episode 10/27 How Weather Radar Works with Sinead Duffy

  • For the Met Éireann Rainfall Radar service, take a look at the ‘latest radar’ on our Weather Maps on or at Rainfall Radar on the Met Éireann app. In addition, radar data is freely available via the Irish Government Open Data Portal
  • For common radar inquiries, please visit our FAQ page
  • …And finally, throughout the summer, keep an eye on our social media to see how the swap is going!

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