Radar Spikes & Anomalous Propagation – Getting To The Truth

For the last 6 months, we have been monitoring a U.S. National Reflectivity Composite Loop map hosted by http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu. This is a very revealing  map that shows unfiltered  radar anomalies that you won’t see on your local weather broadcast. See below for some examples.

The first image is of Radar Spikes from an unknown source. The one right above depicts Anomalous Propagation (Blooms) ….

I have made close to 30 videos about these anomalies – You can find them here –

NEXRAD Spikes and Ground Clutter 

Recently, I was contacted by the Senior Programmer Pete Pokrandt of the  http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu. site and he and I had an excellent email exchange in regards to these radar anomalies. With Pete’s permission, I am publishing the full unedited exchange here.

Although Pete and I may not agree on all points, I do appreciate his willingness to take the time and interact with me on these “Mystery” radar readings.

Thank you for your response. Let me digest this all… After researching today, it appears they are monitoring in Clear Air Mode almost continuously.
Without having read your entire response yet, why are these AP’s being picked up during the day across the entire country… ???
This can not be superrefraction…
LOL – Let me read your entire email and I will ask questions..
Thanks Again
God Bless,
PS – Here is a link to a video I just made and was going to release until I saw your email
When you have time, can you please tell me the errors of my findings? This video is not Publically Listed Yet.
Thanks Again – Jim


BTW, can I report on this explanation you provided here? Thanks
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 12:34 AM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
I’m glad you are taking the time to read and digest what I sent you. It is a lot, I know.
You are correct – the NEXRAD sites run 24/7 – even when no precipitation is detected. The radars run in clear air mode – where the use different elevation scanning modes and you get a volume scan (one cycle through each of the elevations) every 10 minutes or so, compared to every 3-5 minutes when in precipitation mode.
The software for each radar site determines whether the system is running in clear-air mode or precip mode. In clear air mode, the radar is much more sensitive to lower reflectivities, so you can see things like lake or sea breeze fronts, drylines, etc. Being able to detect these features, beyond being just generally interesting, can help to determine where convection/storms will first form.
When higher reflectivities are detected (e.g. formation of clouds or precip that reflect more of the pulse back to the radar) then the software switches the radar into precipitation mode, where the radar is somewhat less sensitive, but able to detect larger reflectivities, and a different set of scanning angles is used.
What AP’s are you talking about in your second sentence? Ground clutter? The spikes? Take a look through my email from last night – I hope it does a good job of explaining the features you’re seeing, but if not, I’m happy to try to expand on that.
I’ll take a look a your unpublished video. At 3PM CDT, I’ve got a test of a remote video with one of our alumni whos’ giving a career talk tonight, but I’ll try to get to it before the end of the day and get back to you if I hear any misconceptions or errors.
Talk to you soon, and God Bless!

Pete Pokrandt – Systems Programmer
UW-Madison Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences——608-262-3086  – poker@aos.wisc.edu

Yes, by all means. I hope to clear up some misunderstandings or misconceptions about what people think they are seeing on these plots, so please feel free to included any of this in your reports. Please take it verbatim though, don’t paraphrase, and if you don’t understand something, please ask me to clarify first.
Thanks for asking!

Pete Pokrandt – Systems Programmer
UW-Madison Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
608-262-3086  – poker@aos.wisc.edu

We want to get it right.. It’s important that the correct info is disseminated. Thank
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:56 PM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
Alright, so my main concern is microwave radiation in the atmosphere. I now understand that Nexrad Doppler is NOT emitting pulse energy 24/7 however, it would appear that between the initial pulse, the return echo and the scatter, that energy initiated by the pulse remains in the atmosphere, continuously noted by your radar loop.
If that is so, my question is, what frequency is the return echo (energy) and the scatter? It is my understanding that the initial pulse is around 2.7 ghz and one it hits an object and/or scatters- returns, the frequency changes.
Is that correct?
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:56 PM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
Just finished watching your video from today, and I’ve got some comments.
But, I’ll address your question below first.
I completely understand your concerns about microwave radiation in the atmosphere. But the amounts we’re talking about decrease rapidly as you get away from the dish (see below) and the amount scattered back is even smaller. I’d have to verify this to be sure, but I suspect that you probably get more microwave radiation being out in direct sun, than you generally do from NEXRAD sites. Again, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s my suspicion.
The frequency of the radiation doesn’t change when it’s scattered, but the intensity of it decreases greatly the farther away you get from the radar dish. The power of the microwave radiation decreases from the source by the inverse square law – divide it by the distance squared. So the farther away from the radar you get, the lower the power of the microwave radiation per square meter it is.
inverse square law – the intensity goes down by a factor of 1/distance^2 (distance squared)
Think about how the light from a light bulb gets dimmer the farther away from it you are. If you have a 100 W light bulb in your front porch light, if you went right up next to it and looked at it, it’d probably hurt your eyes, it’s so bright. If you walk down to the end of the driveway, it’s still bright, but not painful to look at. If you walk down the street, or maybe a few streets down the block, it might still be visible, but just a little point of light as you get farther away. Eventually the power per meter squared is so small you can’t see it anymore. The energy from the radar is like that.
The scattered/reflected radiation power is even smaller yet, since it scatters in all directions, and only a little of it comes right back towards the radar to be detected. Think of the little animation under “How does the radar work” on https://www.weather.gov/iwx/wsr_88d.
There is a pulse of energy sent out by the radar, the power of which gets weaker per square meter as the distance squared (10 m away, the power is 100 times smaller, 100 m away it’s 10000 times smaller, etc..) then some small amount of that is scattered back (the blue squiggle) back and detected by the radar.
It’s kind of like a camera flash. Right up by the camera, it’s a super bright pulse if white light. At the distance of whatever you’re
photographing, the flash is still pretty bright if you’re looking at it. but you, as the photographer, see the scattered light off of
the photograph subject – brighter than it was, but not nearly as bright as the original flash. Does that help?
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘it would appear that between the initial pulse, the return echo and the scatter, that the energy initiated by the pulse remains in the atmosphere, continuously, noted by your radar loop’.
Each image in the loop is a snapshot in time, of a composite of all the nexrad radar sites at a single time. It’s just showing how much of the microwave pulse was reflected vs distance for a single scan for each of the radars. I suppose eventually the radiation either makes its way out to space, or is absorbed by molecules in the atmosphere, or something/someone far away, but by that time it’s much much much much smaller than the amount that came out of the dish, because of the distance from the radar, as well as the effects of it being scattered in all directions.
So to summarize – the microwave energy *is*, (and after being scattered, stays at) around 2.7 Ghz, but it’s a very small amount other than very close to the radar dish, smaller the farther you get from the radar, and a very very very small amount that actually makes it back (and a very very small amount that is scattered in other directions from whatever it ran into, which again decreases with distance squared away from that)
Now, on to your video from today. I was just jotting down notes as I was watching, so this is just my thoughts as I watched..

I’m not sure what it is that you’re seeing today over southeast Texas. Smoke? Dust? Haze?

What’s the weather like there? Looks mostly clear with some low clouds as the day goes on…
Blooms – correct – they are usually seen better in clear air mode – that is more sensitive.
Dust or air particulates – correct
It’s as the humidity goes up or inversion or ?
Correct – doesn’t need to be super-refraction (3:20) – my previous email addressed this.
Biological blooms – maybe sometimes – but you are correct – in this situation these are probably not bats, etc.
Clear air mode is NOT responsible for the spikes in California. They would be there in clear air mode or precip mode. There’s likely some other source of microwave radiation that’s causing those. Per my previous email, I don’t know conclusively what exactly that source is.
Only lowest tilt angles are used in clear air mode – correct. But if you look at precip mode, it also scans at these same low elevation angles, in addition to higher ones.
Stuff from www.weather.gov on clear air mode and precip mode – correct
Yes, 2.7Ghz frequency is the frequency. Not to fry people, but because it passes easily through the air, and reflects well off of particles.
Aerosols – the aerosols we’re talking about are dust, salt, smoke, not necesarily aluminum, strontium, barium (I suppose they could be, but this plot doesn’t have the information you’d need to say exactly what it is)
Elevation angles, correct. 0.5 deg correct. that angle puts the beam over 5km above

ground level by the time you get out to 240 km away. at 50 km from the radar site, it’s

about 1000m above the ground. Remember the beam is a pulse, a flash, not a constant beam
like what your microwave oven puts out.
10 minutes per clear-air mode scan – correct.
Air force report –
24/7 360 low levels – kind of misleading – you make it sound like it’s continuous – it’s not.
I wonder about the amount of radiation that you get from a nexrad pulse compared to the 50000 mW/m2? 10000 mW/m2 == 10 W/m2
– Under “International Standards” – Environmental RF levels from radars, in areas normally accessible to the general public, are at least 1,000 times below the limits for continuous public exposure allowed by the ICNIRP guidelines, and 25,000 times below the level at which RF exposure has been established to cause the earliest known health effects.
– Last few paragraphs about EMF exposure – At present, there is no substantive evidence that adverse health effects, including cancer, can occur in people exposed to RF levels at or below the limits set by international standards. However, more research is needed to fill certain gaps in knowledge.
Around 12:52
You are saying Megawatts, when it’s actually Milliwatts. lower case m is milli (1/1000 times) capital M is Mega (1000 times)
50000 *Milliwatts* (50 watts) – not Megawatts (12:52)
10000 *Milliwatts* (10 watts) –
0.006 *Milliwatts* (0.000006 Watts) –

15:18 You state that “NEXRAD is operating 24/7 in clear air mode for the first time that I know of” – this is patently incorrect. The NEXRAD radars have been operating in either clear or precip mode (depending on whether there’s precip around) since the first days of NEXRAD (1992) – this is not something new, or that just started in the last year or new. I’ve been looking at radar imagery since before NEXRAD was a thing, and I can confirm that NEXRAD have picked up ground clutter and had these blooms and spikes since the beginning.

The angle is close to the ground in clear air mode as well as precip mode.
My understanding is that if you stand right in front of the NEXRAD dish, you probably will have some problems (get burned), like if you stuck your hand in a microwave oven, but at the distance away from the radar that people generally are, there’s no concern.
One question – what about the meteorologists that work at the NWS offices that are right below the radar dishes? They are much closer to the dishes than you or I are. Do they have a higher rate of illness/cancer/issues than people farther away? That would be interesting to look into, and concerning if it were the case, but the people that I know who work at NWS offices haven’t exhibited any adverse effects from spending time there.

I would postulate that this is most definitely not an attack.

1) 16:34 – This reflectivity map does not prove that dangerous aerosols are being sprayed into the atmosphere. I will let my bias come through for a minute – I personally don’t believe that this is happening, but even if it was, this map can’t tell the difference between natural aerosols like dust, salt, smoke, etc. or something else.
2) Microwaves – too small of power to matter. -17:08 – “Microwave radiation beamed 24/7” – again, the way you say this is misleading. You make it sound like there’s a flashlight of microwaves being shot out at us by the radar dishes 24/7, but that is not the case.
3) Blocking the sun???? I am really not sure where you got that from, it just came out of nowhere at 17:27.. I’ll have to look into this more, but I’m not sure what you are inferring by that statement. Clouds block the sun. Smoke blocks the sun. You can get quite a sunburn on a cloudy day. What does NEXRAD have to do with blocking the sun?
That’s it on my notes, I tried to make them a bit more readable as I put them into this email. Please do keep in touch, ask the questions, and I’ll do my best to get you good information and address your concerns.

Pete Pokrandt – Systems Programmer
UW-Madison Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
608-262-3086  – poker@aos.wisc.edu

Thanks Pete, I think you have given me plenty to do an update to the viewers. I will leve it all as is not taking anything out of context. .
It’s hard for me to believe that towers are popping up all over the country without the NWS knowing about them and to date, the fix is still not in place. Furthermore, the radar is picking these spikes up all over the country and as you mentioned earlier, this is Electro Magnetic Radiation …. From an unknown source at levels we know not.
Thanks again for your time… Really appreciate it
God Bless
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:34 PM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
Hope I have been of some help. I think people tend to worry about things that they don’t understand, and I’m just hoping to provide some understanding to ease some of that wrry.
You can at least be confident that the spikes are not *caused* by the NEXRAD radars – they are just picking up radiation from some other source. I personally consider it to be more of a nuisance (since it distracts from the precip and other features that NEXRAD is there to detect) than a concern, but I certainly understand the concern.
Please feel free to reach out anytime if you see other phenomena or artifacts in the imagery, and I’ll do my best to help understand what they are and why they’re there. I’ll keep watching your videos, and if I notice anything not quite right, I’ll let you know so you can be accurate.
I appreciate your concern for people, and your passion for investigating the truth.
God bless you too!

Pete Pokrandt – Systems Programmer
UW-Madison Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
608-262-3086  – poker@aos.wisc.edu

So listen Pete, I’m going to go ahead and release my video and in all fairness, I am going to pin your comments about the video … This way, everyone can see your response.
I’m a fair guy and like people to see all sides and make a choice…
You have some good points – people will pick up on that… Tomorrow, I will probably Post our full exchange as it will probably be the most comprehensive exchange about the subject on the web…
Thank you, Brother.. I appreciate it.
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:58 PM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
Works for me, thanks.

Pete Pokrandt – Systems Programmer
UW-Madison Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
608-262-3086  – poker@aos.wisc.edu

Pete, BTW, I really appreciate the work you guys/gals are doing there… Don’t let them ever shut you down… You are providing an invaluable service to the public.
Tell everyone thank you from Us – my wife and I..
Luke 8:17 – For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
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On Thursday, March 28, 2019 5:07 PM, Pete Pokrandt <poker@aos.wisc.edu> wrote:
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