From Agricultural Benefits to Aviation Safety: Realizing the Potential of Continent-Wide Radar Networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Migratory animals provide a multitude of services and disservices-with benefits or costs in the order of billions of dollars annually. Monitoring, quantifying, and forecasting migrations across continents could assist diverse stakeholders in utilizing migrant services, reducing disservices, or mitigating human-wildlife conflicts. Radars are powerful tools for such monitoring as they can assess directional intensities, such as migration traffic rates, and biomass transported. Currently, however, most radar applications are local or small scale and therefore substantially limited in their ability to address large-scale phenomena. As weather radars are organized into continent-wide networks and also detect "biological targets," they could routinely monitor aerial migrations over the relevant spatial scales and over the timescales required for detecting responses to environmental perturbations. To tap these unexploited resources, a concerted effort is needed among diverse fields of expertise and among stakeholders to recognize the value of the existing infrastructure and data beyond weather forecasting.


  • Silke Bauer
  • Jason W. Chapman
  • Don R. Reynolds
  • José A. Alves
  • Adriaan M. Dokter
  • Myles M.H. Menz
  • Nir Sapir
  • Michał Ciach
  • Lars B. Pettersson
  • Jeffrey F. Kelly
  • Hidde Leijnse
  • Judy Shamoun-Baranes
External organisations
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Aveiro
  • University of Iceland
  • Cornell University
  • University of Bern
  • University of Western Australia, Crawley
  • University of Haifa
  • Agricultural University of Krakow
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
  • The Swiss Ornithological Institute
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Amsterdam
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Biological Topics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-918
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch