Recent developments and activities

Manufacturing RS 120

Training at LEONARDO

Technical workshop in Germany, July 25, 2019

Two technicians from Ecuador and Peru will attend a technical training at the facilities of LEONARDO in Neuss, Germany. The training serves to improve understanding of the Radar Hardware, and helps to enable maintenance and repair works at the Radar sites independent of the Manufacturers support. ... This training is part of the after-sales service and focuses on configuration of software setup, Hardware diagnosis and general system understanding. Also, the two scientist will visit the LCRS in Marburg for discussions of project related issues. At this opportunity they will present their recent scientific progress and future plans.

Frozen: Radar site CAXX

Second ice strike at Paragüillas

Weather hits Radarstation , june 20, 2019

Freezing rain and high windspeeds at the extreme altitude of 4550 m caused a complete icing of the whole Radar station CAXX in the Cajas National park. ... Although the Radar itself is immune to such weather attacks, the high voltage line is not - and was ruptured along its track. ice all over In consequence all system went offline and some of the more delicate electronics have been damaged by the induced spikes of voltage. Also the prolonged period without power creates problems with moisture condensing in the high frequency components. The utility company will reestablish electricity as soon as possible to bring the system back into operation. The operator ETAPA EP will then adress required maintenance work.

Tower Piura

Universidad de Piura:

Radar installed, May 16, 2019

RadarNetPlus is now complete with the new Radar station in Piura at the Campus of the UDEP. ... After several delays in manufacturing and a long trip across the Atlantic ocean the new system finally arrived by road transport at its destination.

Road transport
Assembling Antenna and Radom on the support structure

The Tower was already prepared months earlier, but still some final adjustments had to be made, before the tense moment of lifting the expensive antenna on top of the structure came.

lifting Antenna
Crane service was required for the assembled antenna with almost 500 kg

Mario Guallpa, the responsible Engineer for the Radar in Cuenca joined the team of UDEP for the initial setup and first operational tests. But as the climate in Piura is extremely arid and the rain season just had passed, the operators had to wait until the mid of May 2019 to see the first rain showers in the radar display:

first rain observations
isolated light rain above the Sechura Desert

Presentation about ENSO

Workshop and Conference Trip

PI and scientific coordinator forges cooperation December 20, 2018

Visiting all involved Universities and the operating authorities of the Radars, Rütger Rollenbeck traveled from Cuenca down to Piura. ... The agenda was packed with presentations and discussions, covering topics like operational issues, the development of a trinational cooperation between Ecuador, Peru and Germany and the current climatic situation in South-America. With the new Radar in Piura still awaiting arrival, the scientific work focuses on preparing the older Radar station for restart and analyzing episodes of heavy rainfall observed in 2014 to 2017. While in Cuenca and Loja the urban hydrology is an important topic, the arid south-west of Ecuador is more affected by torrential rain and the consequent floodings, erosion and water management issues. Actually, the annual mean rainfall in the south-west of Ecuador is sufficient (about 500 mm per year) for agricultural activities Nevertheless, the temporal and spatial distribution is unfavorable and requires a deeper understanding only possible with the integral observation capabilities of Rain Radar.

Andy Fries studying the configuration
Andy Fries studying the configuration

At the Radarsite near Loja (LOXX), the software configuration had to be adapted and some minor components needed replacement. Fortunately, the weather was favorable and in such conditions the mountain Pass El Tiro is always a refreshing and pleasant place to be. After a few tests the Radar was restarted and images were recorded for later analysis.

example image from LOXX 2019
First raw images: No rain, just clutter and noise

A surprise came, when a few days later the team visited the Radarsite near Celica (GUAXX), some 4 hours to the west of Loja. Winding up the long gravel road from the Panamericana to the mountain top smoke appeared above the hill side. Actually, the whole south side of the peak of Guachaurco had been burnt down and still some flames were smoldering along the track.

smoke on the mountain
The whole mountain flank burned up

To our big relieve, the flames had stopped just short of the many technical installations on that mountain including our weather radar RS 120. What was damaged however, was the power line and so we had to wait a while, before we could test the new UPS (110 kg!) we had brought along. EERSA, the local utility company was busy (while initially not at all lucky) replacing burnt powerlines. After that, guided by our electrician, we reinstalled the whole mains voltage supply for the RS 120 and improved several shortcomings of the initial installation, mainly by cutting out unneeded cable lengths.

EERSA repairing power lines
The brave guys of EERRSA: breathing smoke in the thin air 3000 m above sea level

The long delay took us into the evening hours before the work was finished, so further issues had to be postponed for the next maintenance visit. After all it´s kind of challenging, going down a gravel road carved into a very steep mountain side with a total drop of almost 1000 m in a heavy Pickup-Truck. Even more so, when darkness falls. There is a reason why the locals use their mules.

The Conference Trip was continued in Piura, where the recently installed tower and the impressive service container installation was inspected. During several meetings and workshops, tasks were, and responsible personnel was introduced and the details of the scientific agenda were defined. Especially the topic of ENSO and its strange behaviour in 2017 with heavy floodings during a normally dry period was discussed. As a final act, the signing of the new cooperation agreement was celebrated and the financial support of the Phillips-Universität Marburg was acknowledged.

Scientific Team of UDEP
Cooperation agreement signed: Universität Marburg gets full acces to future Radar data by contributing financially to the installation

The Team

RadarNetPlus is maintained and operated by a Team of scientists and technicians from Universities and authorities in Ecuador, Peru and Germany


Workshop Publication Peru Weather Cajas Conference Piura Technology El Nino UDC SELEX DHI UDEP LEONARDO