Advantages and Disadvantages of Doppler Radar

A Doppler radar is a type of radar system which uses Doppler effects to determine an object’s velocity data from distance. This is done by the bouncing of microwave signals off the target and determines how the object’s motion alters the frequency of returned signals.


1. High-quality data: Doppler radar provides high-quality data compared to standard radars. Doppler radar is used by a meteorologist to diagnose rainfall as well as provide data on the flow of wind in the atmosphere.

2. Accurate data: It can accurately predict how severe a thunderstorm will be and ensure a warning is issued on time. It can accurately forecast changes in the wind and the flow of wind.

3. Measure thunderstorm rotation: Doppler radar can measure thunderstorm rotation before the tornadoes occur. Airborne Doppler is used to studying the effects of tornadoes to large winter storms.

4. Lightweight: Doppler radars are lightweight in nature are able to remove stationary reflections and integrate signals over a long time span.

5. Improve range performance: Military systems use Doppler radar systems to support night combat vision. It can help improve range performance as well as reduce power.

6. Stabilization and navigation: Doppler radar determines the aircraft velocity, navigation, and stabilization of the aircraft by sending sinusoidal waves onto the earth’s surface. It then uses the frequency shift of the reflected waves to navigate the aircraft.

7. Determine the target range: Doppler radar determines the range of the target by measuring the time interval between the transmitted pulses of light and the echo from the target object.

8. Determine the intensity of precipitation: Doppler radar enables is used in weather forecasting by improving the capability to discern air motions in a storm whereas conventional radar systems provide information about the location and the intensity of precipitation which is associated with the storm.

9. Determine wind shears: It helps meteorologists and scientists to detect any near-ground wind shears which can be dangerous when flying the aircraft. They can also forecast the severity of weather conditions in a certain location and improve the safety of the public and save lives.

10. Detect turbulence: Doppler radar systems in airline transport and business aircraft use pulse air processing to determine speed, direction, and velocity between targets. It also measures whether the movement in the atmosphere is towards the radar or away from the radar.


1. Range folding: Doppler radar can cause range folding errors on the image projected on the screen. The lines and the random little streaks in an image are generated by range folding.

2. Difficult to measure round trip return: Round trip return timing is very essential for the Doppler radar system. It is very difficult to determine the returns from the targets and other objects located in the same area.

3. Limited range: The radars are able to see target objects at a certain range with complete confidence. Anything that is outside the normal range (unambiguous range) is unclear.

4. Cannot detect wind independently: Unless you have additional remote sensing, the Doppler radar system can’t detect wind independently.

5. High maintenance: The Doppler radar system require constant maintenance in order to provide accurate information. This may turn out to be expensive.

6. Prone to failure: Due to its increased sensitivity, the radar is more prone to failure when exposed to severe weather.

7. Reliability: The system cannot be entirely be relied upon. It lacks some forecasting principles due to certain limitations.

8. Require expertise to analyze: The measured data require a professional meteorologist to analyze collected data and provide accurate information.


Looking to learn more about radar systems in general? Check out our great article all about the advantages and disadvantages of radar systems in general.