Polarisation Doppler Radar (POLDIRAD)

The Polarisation Doppler Radar (POLDIRAD) at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Oberpfaffenhofen is Europe's only C-band weather radar system for research into the science of electromagnetic wave propagation. POLDIRAD is used primarily for investigating methods of radar-based weather forecasting.

Weather radar for better forecasting of snow and rain

POLDIRAD has been operating since 1986 as a C-band weather radar on the roof of the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics. The facility is unique in Europe thanks to its ability to transmit and receive light with any polarisation.

Weather radars are used by weather services to monitor precipitation systems such as storms within an area of approximately 200 kilometres at a high spatial resolution (approximately 500 metres) and temporal resolution (approximately 5-10 minutes). They are also used to derive products to support short-term weather forecasting, aviation, meteorology and hydrology.

Methods developed using POLDIRAD serve as the basis for many of the techniques used by weather services today. But unlike the radar systems used by weather services, POLDIRAD has the flexibility to measure a wide range of precipitation parameters. The facility is used to study the processes at work in precipitation systems – especially storms and snowfall – and helps to improve weather forecasting through process studies and the development of analytical methods.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Dr.rer.nat. Martin Hagen

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen