SkyVector has added MRMS Weather Radar to its online flight planning platform. But what is MRMS? It stands for Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor.
The Multi-Radar part means that data streams from multiple radar stations, be they NEXRAD WSR-88Ds or TDWRs, are collected and combined to produce a product that’s better than a single station could do alone, company officials explain.
The Multi-Sensor part means that non-radar sources are used to further improve the accuracy of the radar data. In practice this means that surface observations like rain gauges are used to bias-correct the radar intensity levels.
Superior Quality Control: This means removing non-precipitation artifacts like insects, dust, and wind turbines. Because these artifacts are reduced, SkyVector can show very light misty precipitation all the way down to the 5 dBZ level. Many other products simply discard this low level data because it is too noisy, company officials note.
Faster Updates: MRMS produces a new image every two minutes. SkyVector is typically able to get that image to your screen 90-120 seconds after the data is snapshotted. Compare this to the 5-10 minute latency common on other aviation sites.
Accurate Intensity Levels: Because the radar echos are bias corrected, the intensity levels you see are meaningful and consistent. This means that at 20dBZ, which is considered “light rain,” you can expect to experience the same level of precipitation no matter when, where, or how that rain was detected.
Along with the new data, SkyVector is also providing the ability for its authenticated users to animate the radar products. A new control in the center bottom provides the ability to pause, scrub, and speed up the animation.
“Currently, most users are able to animate 10 6-minute frames covering the past hour,” says David Graves, SkyVector President and CEO. “We are carefully rolling out two-minute frames (30 frames) to select users as we measure the load on our servers and keep an eye on our bandwidth costs.”