Ready for Transfer

Advanced Radiometer for Measurement of Cloud Liquid Water and Aircraft Icing


RadiometricScientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a narrow-beam, multi-frequency microwave radiometer that provides real time surveillance of atmospheric conditions, offering continuous measurements of humidity and liquid water aloft. Combined with other sensors, the device can be used to detect hazardous icing conditions for aircraft and to improve local short-term, high-impact weather prediction. The remote sensing radiometer is not hampered by radio interference and functions well in all weather conditions.


  • Operational weather forecasting
  • Wind energy availability and ramp forecasting


  • NASA’s Jet
  • Fire weather
  • Air quality
  • Plume monitoring
  • Solar energy availability forecasting
  • Weather modification for water and hydro energy resource
  • Aviation weather


NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory purchased these modular radiometers for its Deep Space Network, a worldwide antenna network to support exploration of our solar system. In addition, NASA continues to improve detection of in-flight icing to enhance flight safety. Glenn Research Center is using the device as part of its R&D efforts at Cleveland Hopkins forecasting:

  • Oceanographic research
  • Satellite sensor calibration
  • Global climate change research

The system can warn pilots of regions of hazardous icing conditions aloft, allowing for timely rerouting or diversion, thereby increasing safety while minimizing flight delays. Spinoff radiometers helped meteorologists prepare short-term weather forecasts during China’s 2008 and Canada’s 2010 Olympic Games, and are now being used in air traffic control towers around the world. The Department of Energy also is using modular radiometers in their Atmospheric Radiation Monitoring Program—contributing to global climate change research.

For more information, contact the Office of Technology Partnerships & Planning NASA’s Glenn Research Center at 216- 433-3484 or