To compile a forecast, meteorologists need to have a perfect overview of the current weather. Meteorological stations, satellites, meteorological balloons and radars are used for this purpose. And radar data is the most popular with the public. Millions of people are watching them to find out where the current is and if there is a storm coming. In today’s article, we will look at the place where radar images are created.
A meteorological radar is needed to create them. There are two meteorological radars on our territory. The first is located at the top of Prague in Brdy and the second at the top of Skalka near Protivanov in the Drahanská Highlands. The maximum range of radars used in the Czech Republic is approximately 250 km on all sides of the world (then data can no longer be obtained due to the curvature of the earth’s surface with this type of radar).
Giant. 1: Map of the location of two radars in our territory, including marking their range (circles), source: CHMI.
The location of the radars is not accidental. The goal is to position the radar so that it covers our territory well and at the same time is at the highest point. However, most of the mountains are located on the border, which is not suitable for covering our territory. It is thus necessary to look for mountains within our territory and one such place is Brdy on the border of Central Bohemia and Pilsen region. The two highest peaks of Brd are Tok (864 m) and Prague (862 m). It was on the second named peak that a meteorological tower with a radar was built in 1999. The peak is also interesting for tourists. It is easily accessible and offers a range of views of the countryside.
Tourists most often come to the peaks of Prague from the village of Nepomuk (not to be confused with the town of Nepomuk in the Pilsen region). There is free parking on the northern edge of the village. You can then go to the top in several ways (Figure 2).
Giant. 2: Possible paths from the car park to the top (color markings do not match the tourist signs and are only illustrative): the blue marked path is the longest (3.2 km), the yellow marked path is slightly shorter (2.8 km) and in addition is it is possible to shorten it by almost 1 km by using the forest road marked in red. You can study the route in more detail at tourist maps.
The roads to the top lead along paved roads. Only in the case of the section marked in red (Figure 2) is it a path through the forest, which is more difficult due to the fast climb (you climb 100 meters at only 500 meters). On other roads, the ascent is slower because it is spread over a larger section. In total, you have to climb 173 m higher from the parking lot to the top. This is reflected in a drop in temperature of about 2 ° C. In the colder part of the year, there may still be snow on the top, even though it is no longer below the top.
Giant. 3: At the top you can move on comfortable paths strewn with red gravel, it comes from a nearby quarry.
The dominant feature of the peak is the radar meteorological tower. The building is 56 meters high by radar and thus rises to a height of 916 meters above sea level. Unfortunately, access to it is not possible for the public. The radar itself is located in the dome at the top of the tower.
Giant. 4: View of the radar tower and spruces in the vicinity – in the white dome at the top is the radar.
The radar provides images of precipitation with a horizontal resolution of 1×1 km and the measurements are performed every 5 minutes. The vertical resolution is 0.5 km and the radar detects precipitation up to a height of 14 km. It is a radar from Vaisala with a frequency of 5630 MHz. The radar is 4.5 meters in diameter and measures 5.3 cm. The advantage is that it is a Doppler radar. Doppler mode allows you to measure the speed of precipitation. The measurement is based on the fact that the difference between the frequency of the transmitted and reflected microwave signal is directly proportional to the speed of precipitation. The radar scans about half of the western territory (the other half is scanned by the radar in the Drahanská Highlands). From there, the images regularly go to the central workplace of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute in Prague Libuš, where they are automatically processed (mainly composite – measurements from the radar in Brdy and in the Drahanská Highlands are combined). The whole process is automatic and very fast (it takes tens of seconds). From there, the images are then distributed to websites and mobile applications, where they are watched by millions of people.
Giant. 5: View of the radar tower and spruce trees in the vicinity.
Radar is not the only place that is interesting at the top of Prague. The peak itself is formed by a rather large plain. The very highest point is located just behind the radar tower and is marked. You will also find a thermometer here that will tell you the current temperature. Next to the top there is a nice view of Brdy (for example, the nearby Padrť ponds can be seen). At the view you will also find a thick stone wall, which served to protect the stand and cabin of the Freya sight. During World War II, it served as one of the locations for navigating German aircraft.
Giant. 6: Next to the top there is a nice view of Brdy – for example, the nearby Padrť ponds can be seen.
Giant. 7: At the view you will also find a thick stone wall, which served to protect the stand and cabin of the Freya sight.
Not far from the radar tower is also the so-called Čák’s lookout. However, the view from it is slightly hidden by the trees. More interesting views to the south in Šumava are offered by a more distant view from Malý Tok.
The Prague Peak is one of the most interesting peaks in the Brdy Mountains and is definitely worth a visit. On quiet forest paths, the company usually only makes the wind howl in the spruce forest. Until a few years ago, the whole area was closed to the public and so far it is not so popular with tourists (for example, there is a lack of refreshments that would attract more tourists).
Giant. 8: You can go to the top of Prague in the evening – the reward will be a beautifully lit radar tower, author: Zdeněk Pracný