This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. 



Wardon Hill C-band rain radar 2 km rainfall rate data

Update Frequency: Continual
Latest Data Update: 2011-02-21
Status: Ongoing
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Published
Publication Date: 2011-02-21
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 579 Files | 319MB


2 km resolution rain rate data from Met Office's Wardon Hill C-band rain radar, Dorset, England as part of the NIMROD, very short range forecasting system used by the Met Office. 1 km rain rate data are available from 2006 until present. Radar images from the C-band (5.3 cm wavelength) radar are received by the Nimrod system 5 minute intervals respectively.

Please note that this radar is operated for research purposes only and thus subject to changes in operation and data are subject to interruptions.

Data from the Cobbacombe Cross, Dean Hill or Jersey radars provide coverage for the same area covered by the Wardon Hill radar.

Citable as:  Met Office (2011): Wardon Hill C-band rain radar 2 km rainfall rate data. NCAS British Atmospheric Data Centre, date of citation.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: Met Office, NIMROD, rain radar


Previous Info:
No news update for this record
Previously used record identifiers:
Access rules:
Restricted data: please submit an application using the REQUEST ACCESS link for access.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data are acquired from rain radar network in the UK and Europe by the Met Office's NIMROD system. Composite products (images and data) and single site data are then sent to the BADC by the Met Office's DART operational dissemination system. Raw polar data from single sites are sent through from the RADARNET team at the Met Office. On arrival at the BADC the data are ingested after a one day quarantine.

Data Quality:
Data are from the Met Office's operational NIMROD system
File Format:
NIMROD product data are in the non-standard NIMROD binary format. Refer to linked documentation for further details.

More Information (under review)


The Met Office UK rainfall data from the NIMROD system data describe rain-rate observations taken by NIMROD, which is a very short range forecasting system used by the Met Office. Data were collected from 2002 until present at UK stations.

The precipitation rate analysis uses processed radar and satellite data, together with surface reports and Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) fields. The UK has a network of 15 C-band rainfall radars and data form these are processed by the Met Office NIMROD system.

Radar images from the 15 C-band (5.3 cm wavelength) radars around the British Isles, at 5 km and 2 km resolution, are received by the Nimrod system at 15 minute and 5 minute intervals respectively.

Restricted Data Access

The Met Office wish to monitor the use of these analyses and require an acknowledgement of the data source if they are used in any publication.

The online application for access to the Met Office Nimrod data includes acceptance of the Met Office Conditions of Use. Please note that the Met Office data sets are available for bona fide academic research only, on a per person per project basis (i.e. all members on a same project who will be using the data must individually apply for access to the data). If you wish to access the Met Office data for commercial or personal purposes, please contact the Met Office directly.

Once your application has been processed you can access the data via the web

Data availability and file format

The NIMROD data is routinely and continuously updated at the BADC to present date.

A calendar detailing data availability for the period 2003-2010 is also available from here

The current situation is that we are not able to fulfil requests for data that are missing from this archive. The data may be available at a cost by contacting the Met Office directly with required dates. It is worth contacting the BADC first to check if the reason for the gap is already identified as being due to the data not existing at all.

NIMROD product data are in a non-standard binary format described in the NIMROD format document. However, the documentation does not indicate there are three 4 byte elements in each record. These are located before each block of data within the record, the first and second should be equal to 512 to confirm the size of the next data block; the third should be equal to twice the size of the data grid (e.g. if the data are in a grid 200 by 500 boxes, then this third entry should be 200,000)

The BADC does not support reading software but programs written by the community to do this task in IDL, Matlab, FORTRAN and Python are available in the dataset software directory. Those interested in importing to ArcGIS should see the Lancaster ArcGIS page.

The data files contain integer precipitation rates in unit of (mm/hr)*32. Each value is between 0 and 32767. In practice it is rare to see a value in excess of 4096 i.e. 128 mm/hr.

The raw polar data format is described in the polar data header format document. The actual elevations of individual scans are recorded in the polar data files. The file names for the polar data follow the BADC file name convention but those for the normal data products do not.

Who to contact

If you have queries about these pages or about obtaining the Met Office Land Surface data from the BADC then you should contact CEDA Support. Your query should be answered within one working day. When follow-up work is required, the CEDA support will carry out the work as quickly and efficiently as possible, and in any case, the user will be kept informed of progress.

Process overview

This dataset was generated by instruments deployed on platforms as listed below.
Output Description


  • long_name: Precipitation Rate
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: Precipitation Rate
  • names: Precipitation Rate,

Co-ordinate Variables

Temporal Range
Start time:
End time:
Geographic Extent

Related parties
Authors (1)
Funders (1)
Principal Investigators (1)