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Radars, Weather Explanations, Displays and analyses, Weather Radar
Asset ID: 5396
|Title: What Do the Colors Mean on a Radar Display?|
Concept: The intensity of a radar echo is usally color coded.
Detail: Radar actually measures a term called reflectivity. It is just a number, so in order to visually interpret the display, the reflectivity is usually assigned a color code. Earlier systems typically had 6 levels, though modern displays, such as found on the Internet, can have a variety and number of color schemes. The traditional blue through green to orange and red scheme is still widely used. Often the display will have a scale for reflectivity (dBZ). Usually a value around 10 dBZ is light rain or drizzle. By 30 dBZ, the rain is heavier and some lightning may be present. By the time one reaches ~55 dBZ, the storm core is characterized as potentially severe, as that high a value may indicate hail. Values >70 dBZ are extremely rare.