What Is "dBZ" in Weather?


Quick Answer

The term “dBZ” means decibels of Z and measures base reflectivity or the echo intensity when energy is transmitted back to the radar receiver during the measuring of precipitation intensity. A computer analyzes the energy that bounces back and generates a color code that indicates the amount of precipitation.

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Full Answer

Computer systems generate base reflectivity images at different angles of inclination. The images help detect the presence or possibility of precipitation, assess storm structure and determine atmospheric boundaries. If the radar receives back a strong signal, it yields a greater dBZ value, which implies a more intense precipitation. A reflectivity image may feature one of two color codes representing different dBZ values.

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