Met Éireann’s new radar to provide more accurate rainfall maps

The new weather radar at Shannon will be able to tell the difference between types of precipitation. Photo: Paul Mealey

Ciaran Moran

A new radar system to be installed by Met Éireann at Shannon Airport will be able to discern between types of precipitation like rain, heavy rain, snow and sleet.

The 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, relied upon heavily by farmers, provides a steady stream of information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via the Met Éireann website and app, and is used to provide information on the location and intensity of precipitation across Ireland. The new weather radar system in Shannon will provide enhanced precipitation measurement capabilities.

The dual polarisation weather radar, which will replace the current single polarisation version, have the ability to discern between types of precipitation like rain, heavy rain, snow and sleet (based on its shape), and they have better performance than single polarisation radars in discerning precipitation from objects such as buildings or birds.

This will result in benefits for Met Éireann forecasting services and rainfall radar maps offered to the public.

Work is due to start in May and 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, Met Éireann’s forecasting services will continue as normal, however changes can be expected on the radar image shown on ‘Latest Radar’ on and on the Met Éireann app for the south and the west of Ireland.

This is because the radar image will show combined information from the weather radar at Dublin Airport, the temporary one in Cork and two UK Met Office weather radars in Belfast and Wales when available.

Sarah Gallagher, Head of the Observations Division in Met Éireann, said: “Ireland’s weather radar data is fundamental to the provision of accurate forecasts and weather warnings, supporting emergency management and the protection of life and property.”