CHAPTER 5. Information Systems

Limitations of Both Types of Weather Radar Systems

Weather radar does not detect most other kinds of hazardous weather such as fog, icing, and turbulence. The absence of radar return on a radar display does not in any way mean “clear skies.” Skillful users of weather radar are able to recover clues of other weather phenomena, such as hail and turbulence, from radar data.

A second limitation of weather radar is that the earliest (cumulus) stage of a thunderstorm is usually free of precipitation and may not be detected by radar. Convective wind shear, severe turbulence, and icing are characteristic of thunderstorms during the cumulus stage.

The pilot must beware of areas that offer no radar coverage. In many cases, these areas appear blank on a weather display. The absence of weather hazards as shown on a screen does not imply the actual absence of weather hazards.

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