What is the wind profiler radar?
The Wind Profiler Radar (WPR) is meteorological equipment used to observe the wind speed and wind direction in the sky. Radio waves emitted from the WPR toward the sky are scattered by fluctuations of refractivity due to atmospheric turbulence. Wind direction and speed in midair are calculated by processing the radio signal collected by the WPR. Sumitomo Electric’s WPR has been adopted by WINDAS*, operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) since March 2014 and installed at 31 observation stations around Japan from Hokkaido in the north to the remote islands of Okinawa in the south. The observation data obtained from WPR are used as numerical data to predict the state of the atmosphere, the basis of weather forecasting, thus helping improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.
Features of Sumitomo Electric products
Our WPR has a unique structure using a radio wave lens called a Luneburg lens as a part of its antenna. The Luneburg lens is a spherical lens made of multiple layers with slightly different relative permittivity, and gathers the incoming radio waves into one focal point. The design is based on the advanced material technologies held by Sumitomo Electric. By adjusting the number of antenna devices equipped with a Luneburg lens, we are better able to respond to the observation altitude that our customers request.
What difficulties did you face in developing the wind profiler radar?
JMA’s WINDAS has been in operation since 2001. JMA was looking for an advanced WPR with new functions. So, they adopted our WPR when renovating their old equipment. The new contract requested us to produce 31 WINDASs in about 10 months, an unprecedentedly short delivery period for us. By carefully arranging the work schedule for inspection, delivery and transport with Sumitomo Densetsu Co., Ltd., which actually installs the system, the team mainly comprising our staff successfully completed this tightly scheduled project in cooperation with other group companies such as SHC Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Electric System Solutions Co., Ltd., and Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations, Inc. The project brought together experts from each field, demonstrating the strengths of the Sumitomo Electric Group.
How do they use the data obtained from WINDAS that employs our equipment?
WINDAS currently maintains its observation 24 hours a day, providing data mostly for weather prediction. These data are available from the JMA website and are used in various fields. You can browse the JMA website for the information.