Canadian weather radar network

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Canadian weather radar network

The Canadian weather radar network consists of 31 weather radars spanning Canada's most populated regions. Their primary purpose is the early detection of precipitation, its motion and the threat it poses to life and property. Each has a range of Template:Convert in radius around the site to detect reflectivity, and a range of Template:Convert for detecting velocity patterns (Doppler effect).


Research in weather radars in Canada began at the end of the Second World War with "Project Stormy Weather".[1] After the war, J.S. Marshall continued at McGill University the work with the "Stormy Weather Group".[2] The Canadian network was thus gradually formed and by 1997, there were 19 weather radars of two kinds across the country: 18 five centimeter wavelength (C-Band) radars and 1 ten centimeter wavelength (S-Band) at McGill, all of the radars detected reflectivity with 3 sites equipped with Doppler capabilities (Carvel, King City and McGill).

Environment Canada received approval in 1998 to upgrade the network to Doppler standard and to add 12 more radars with the operational characteristics coming from King City weather radar station (CWKR), the research radar of Environment Canada.[3] However, McGill radar (at the J. S. Marshall Radar Observatory), while being part of the network, is owned by McGill University. It is a research as well as an operational radar and is modified independently.


Villeroy radar, 75 km southwest of Quebec City : tower and radome to the left, transmitter and receiver in the building on the right
Station CXSS at Silver Star Mountain
  • The rest of the network:[3]
    • The upgraded radar have antennas from two manufacturers: Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC) and Raytheon.
    • The new radar have antennas produced by Andrew Canada. With a diameter almost double the old ones; resolutions improved by the same amount.
    • Use 5.6 cm wavelength emitting magnetrons. (C-Band)
    • Process received reflectivity and Doppler data with Sigmet Radar Data Systems, now a part of Vaisala Oyj.
    • Each radar in the network will thus be called a WSR-98E, WSR-98R or WSR-98A for Weather Surveillance Radar - 1998 (for the year of the start of the program) and the first letter of the manufacturer of the Pedestal/Antenna (Enterprise, Raytheon or Andrew).
    • Antennas of 3.6 metres in diameter for the ungraded radars and 6.1 m for the new ones.
    • Pulse length and pulse repetition frequency adjustable. Pulse length 0.8,1.6 and 2.0s. Pulse repetition frequency (PRF) 250 Hz and Dual PRF (Doppler Mode) 1190/1200 Hz.

Scanning Strategy

Because the network is using C band radars, compromises had to be used (see Doppler dilemma) between maximum reflectivity range and maximum non ambiguous velocities. The actual scanning strategy (2006) is divided in two separate scans over 10 minutes:[3]

  • Conventional cycle: 24 elevation angles scanned in 5 minutes to obtain a tri-dimensional view of the atmosphere within 256 km of the radar in reflectivity.
  • Doppler cycle: 4 angles scanned in reflectivity and velocities, the first three in a range of 128 km and the last within 256 km. This cycle is used to locate possible small scale rotation and shear in the wind pattern as well as the large scale circulation. The velocity data also help to filter artifacts in the reflectivity such as ground echos.

Only the McGill radar (J. S. Marshall Radar Observatory) using its coherent S-band transmitter acquires reflectivities and velocities during each of its 24 elevation angles: 5 minute cycle time.[4]

Take note that McGill. Jimmy Lake and Lac Castor radars are not owned neither operated by Environment Canada. McGill radar is operated/owned by McGill University. Jimmy Lake and Lac Castor are owned/operated by the Department of Defense (DND).

Latest News

Environment Canada received the funding from the Treasury Board in 2011 to undergo a major modernization project called 'WES Renewal' to upgrade to dual polarization all Canadian Radars in two separate five year plans. Complete network stabilization and systemic problems resolution will also be part of this major effort by Environment Canada. The first five years will concentrate on the upgrade of the ten 98A radars to dual polarization. McGill will be upgraded to a new antenna (will either remain S-Band or change to C-Band), but will be operated by Environment Canada in the near future (probably by 2016).[5]

List of radars

The modernization process began in the fall of 1998 with the opening of Bethune radar and ended in 2004 with the one in Timmins.[6]

Canadian Weather Radar Network
Site Location Province Coordinates ID/call sign Band Type Callsign meaning Notes
Aldergrove Vancouver British Columbia Template:Coord CWUJ C 98E
Bethune Regina Saskatchewan Template:Coord CXBE C 98A Bethune
Britt Georgian Bay Ontario Template:Coord CWBI C 98A Britt
Carvel Edmonton Alberta Template:Coord CWHK C 98E
Chipman Central New Brunswick New Brunswick Template:Coord CXNC C 98E New Brunswick Chipman
Dryden Western Ontario Ontario Template:Coord CXDR C 98E Dryden
Exeter Southwestern Ontario Ontario Template:Coord CWSO C 98A Southern Ontario
Foxwarren Eastern Saskatchewan/Western Manitoba Manitoba Template:Coord CXFW C 98E Foxwarren
Franktown Eastern Ontario Ontario Template:Coord CXFT C 98A Franktown
Gore Central Hants County Nova Scotia Template:Coord CXGO C 98A Gore
Holyrood Eastern Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador Template:Coord CWTP C 98R
Jimmy Lake NW Saskatchewan/NE Alberta Saskatchewan Template:Coord CWHN C 98E
King City Southern Ontario Ontario Template:Coord CWKR C 98A King City Radar
Lac Castor Saguenay River Quebec Template:Coord CWMB C 98E
Landrienne Amos Quebec Template:Coord CXLA C 98R Landrienne Amos
Lasseter Lake Superior West Ontario Template:Coord CXNI C 98E Nipigon
Marble Mountain Western Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador Template:Coord CXME C 98A Marble Mountain
Marion Bridge Southeastern Cape Breton County Nova Scotia Template:Coord CXMB C 98E Marion Bridge
McGill Montreal Quebec Template:Coord CWMN S -- Montreal
Montreal River Harbour Sault Ste Marie Ontario Template:Coord CWGJ C 98E
Mount Sicker Victoria British Columbia Template:Coord CXSI C 98A Mount Sicker
Mount Silver Star Vernon British Columbia Template:Coord CXSS C 98A Silver Star
Prince George Northern B.C. British Columbia Template:Coord CXPG C 98R Prince George
Radisson Saskatoon Saskatchewan Template:Coord CXRA C 98E Radisson
Schuler Medicine Hat Alberta Template:Coord CXBU C 98E Burstall This RADAR was originally planned to be located at Burstall, Saskatchewan.
Spirit River Grande Prairie Alberta Template:Coord CWWW C 98E
Strathmore Calgary Alberta Template:Coord CXSM C 98A Strathmore
Timmins Northeastern Ontario Ontario Template:Coord CXTI C 98E Timmins
Val d'Irène Lower St. Lawrence Quebec Template:Coord CXAM C 98A Amqui
Villeroy Southwest of Quebec City Quebec Template:Coord CWVY C 98R Villeroy
Woodlands Winnipeg Manitoba Template:Coord CXWL C 98A Woodlands

See also


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  4. 4.0 4.1 Template:Cite web
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External links


Template:Meteorological equipment