Cemaden launches Weather Radar RMT 0200 in São José dos Campos, Brazil

The Radar RMT 0200, manufactured by the Brazilian technological IACIT, will provide data to National Center for Monitoring and Alerting of Natural Disasters starting from July

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Weather Radar RMT 0200, manufactured by IACIT
Weather Radar RMT 0200, manufactured by IACIT - Foto: Lucas Lacaz Ruiz/Rossi Comunicação

Cemaden (National Center for Monitoring and Alerting of Natural Disasters), a research unit of the MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation), headquartered in São José dos Campos City (SP state, Brazil), completes 10 years of activities on July 1st. In order to celebrate the date, the center will have a technology to benefit the entire Metropolitan Region of Vale do Paraíba: the Weather Radar RMT 0200, manufactured by IACIT, a national company of technological solutions.

Cemaden's mission is to monitor risk areas and natural disasters in order to preserve lives. Currently, the center monitors more than 50 thousand areas susceptible to landslides, submergences, and floodwaters throughout Brazil, covering a population of more than 10 million people, most of them in a socially vulnerable situation. With the capacity to reach a coverage radius of 400 kilometers, the IACIT Weather Radar now provides Cemaden with accurate information on severe meteorological events, which contribute to the monitoring of the Vale do Paraíba, North Coast (SP state) and some cities in Southern Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais Brazilian states.

“Only with a radar we can predict those summer storms, which are intense and localized. Satellite images and weather models can indicate conditions for this type of storm, but not when and where it will occur. A radar such as the IACIT one shows us the system in formation and allows us to follow the growth and behavior of this mass in real time”, said the Director of the Research Unit, Osvaldo Luiz Leal de Moraes.

RMT 0200 is a Solid-state Dual Polarization S-Band Weather Radar. It can provide, for instance, data on the formation of the so-called Cumulonimbus (CB), those dense clouds which grow quickly and cause massive storms. The Radar monitors the size of water droplets and hail crystals in these clouds. With this information, it is possible to predict the volume, location, and time when precipitation will occur.

“The radar technology by IACIT surprised me, it is the most advanced in terms of weather radar worldwide”, said Moraes.

The data generated by RMT 0200, when added to information generated by rain gauges, hydrological and geological stations, and other instruments installed in risk areas, allow Cemaden to increase its disaster predictive capacity and issue early alerts to the affected municipalities and to the National Office of Civil Defense and Protection.

Radar Network 

From July, IACIT radar will be part of a network which currently has 37 weather radars spread across Brazil and belonging to different public and private institutions. All of them provide data to Cemaden to support preventing disasters.

According to Moraes, the number of radars is insufficient for adequate coverage of the 959 municipalities monitored by the institution throughout Brazil. Out of the 37 radars used, only nine belong to Cemaden. They are installed in the following Brazilian cities and states: Natal (RN), Petrolina (PE), Salvador (BA), Jaraguari (MS), São Francisco (MG), Maceió (AL), Santa Teresa (ES), Três Marias (MG), and Almenara (MG).

“This type of technology manufactured by IACIT is crucial. In addition to competing with the most modern options in the international market, it is strengthening our economy and generating independence and autonomy for Brazil”, stated Moraes.

The partnership between Cemaden and IACIT was signed in 2019 through a cooperation agreement.

The Director of Cemaden, Osvaldo Moraes, in the new operating room which will be delivered in July

Tragedy in Rio motivated the Cemaden creation

Cemaden was created by the federal government in July 2011 as a response to the worst natural disaster recorded in Brazil. In January of that year, seven municipalities in the mountainous region of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro were hit by torrential rains, which caused flooding and landslides.

The tragedy in the Rio de Janeiro mountains killed more than 900 people and left an estimated financial loss of R$ 4.78 billion, according to a report released by the World Bank. Up to that moment, Brazil did not have a national disaster monitoring and alert service. Thus, aiming to prevent further tragedies, the federal government created the National 
Center for Monitoring and Alerting of Natural Disasters.

According to Moraes, having created Cemaden under the aegis of Science was fundamental for the organization to be able to develop and fulfill its mission.

The Director also points out three primary initiatives which enabled the structuring of Cemaden as an international reference in natural disaster management: the mapping and classification of all risk areas in Brazil; the creation of an observational network (with radars, rain gauges, and hydrological and geotechnical stations); and the formation of a highly skilled multidisciplinary team, including meteorologists, hydrologists, geodynamic researchers, and social scientists.

“All of our researchers are PhDs. In our operating room, we have 42 people, half with a PhD and the rest with a Master's degree”, highlights Moraes.

Classified as a research unit since 2016, currently, Cemaden, in addition to promoting the training of Civil Defense agents across the country, also maintains a postgraduate program in natural disasters at Master and Doctorate levels in partnership with Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista, in Portuguese).

Technology manufactured by IACIT

RMT 0200 is the first Solid-state Dual Polarization Weather Radar designed and manufactured in Brazil and was classified as a PED (Strategic Defense Product) by the Brazilian Ministry of Defense in 2019.

IACIT radar, manufactured with its own technology, has a transmission system totally in solid-state (modulator and amplifier), generating several benefits, among them the reduction in energy consumption and less electromagnetic pollution.

The Director of the Engineering, Research and Development department at IACIT, the Engineer Fernanda Menezes, accompanied all stages of the project, from conception and manufacturing to the verification and validation phase. 

Fernanda is keen to emphasize the radar is the result of the work of a competent team, which embraces the challenges and is committed to the results, as well as the investments made by the company in technological innovation. “IACIT is one of the few Brazilian companies which invests its own capital in R&D, in the production of national technology. It is a company which values innovation, whether in the manufacture of new products or process improvements. Our mission is to contribute to the development of national autonomy”, comments Fernanda.

The engineer also adds: “We are very proud to produce this cutting-edge product, to train and retain high-quality professionals and specially to manufacture technology on Brazilian soil”.




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