GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — We all know Doppler radar is used to look at rain, hail and snow. But did you know there are a bunch of non-meteorological features you can also see on the radar?
A few weeks ago we watched the smoke from the Tyrrell County wildfire during the evening newscast. Along with smoke, you can also see bugs, birds and mammals. You may be able to watch bats take off for their nightly feeding or bugs coming out at night.
Radar allows you to see the boundaries between air masses like cold fronts and dry lines. You can also spot sea breezes, something you can see almost daily during the summer in North Carolina.
Doppler radar works by sending a pulse that strikes objects in the atmosphere and scatters some of the energy back to the radar. This allows meteorologists to see precipitation but it also picks up other atmospheric phenomena.
Sometimes terrain inconveniently gets picked up near the radar site where the beam is lower, which is called ground clutter. Most of what gets picked up by radar is meteorological, but it’s fun and important to be able to identify what isn’t.