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What on earth is that thing on the Centenary Highway?

What on earth is that giant white ball on top of the hill you can see from the Centenary Highway as you go between Springfield Lakes and Ipswich?

What you might know is that it’s got something to do with the weather.

It is in fact the Redbank Plains CP2 Research Radar.

What you might not know is that the Bureau of Meteorology has decommissioned the radar, having declared “mission accomplished” last year.

“It’s completed its mission to deliver valuable research data to the Bureau,” a spokesperson for BoM said.

There have been plenty of local conspiracy theories over the past couple of years suggesting something more ‘secret’ must be going on.

The CP2 Research Radar was originally a 1970s-era radar gifted by the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the United States, which was upgraded to state-of-the-art capability and installed at Redbank Plains in December 2006.

BoM says the data collected for analysis has been used in a number of research projects including – Improving our understanding of thunderstorms, improving the methods for rainfall measurement and hail detection, and exploring the potential for cloud seeding.

The radar was switched off late last year, and any reusable parts are now in the process of being packed for return shipping to NCAR as spare parts.

The Bureau sites its operation of dual polarisation technology as its biggest achievement.

Conventional radars transmit and receive radio waves with a single horizontal pulse but dual polarisation transmits and receives both horizontal and vertical pulses.

Allowing the radar to detect the size, shape and variety of the object detected.

For example whether it is rain or hail.

This advanced technology is now being installed as part of an upgrade on Mt Stapylton.

Because of the currently upgrade, Mt Stapylton is offline until the end of the month and our very own Marburg station is filling in.

So when you are looking at the 128km Brisbane Radar Loop it is beaming to you from Marburg.

And if my above explanation is as clear as mud, this BoM video explains the upgrade in detail:

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