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MTP-5 - Air temperature profiles by microwave technology

There are a number of applications in meteorological and environmental sciences where it is desirable to measure the temperature of the atmosphere in the 1000 m closest to the ground. This is part of the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL). The MTP-5 family of instruments is specifically designed to provide real-time PBL measurements with all-weather, unattended operation and automatic self-calibration.

The MTP-5 family of instruments is specifically designed to provide real-time PBL measurements with all-weather, unattended operation and automatic self-calibration. They require no specialist knowledge to install, maintain and operate or to analyze the data, and are ideal for network use. MTP-5 uses a uniquely designed compact and rugged microwave receiver which is highly sensitive to atmospheric ‘black-body’ thermal radiation at 5 mm wavelength (60 GHz frequency). MTP-5 emits no radiation and does not require any operating licenses.

MTP-5 is quick and simple to set up and most versions can be easily transported to different locations. Typically, the instrument is mounted on a platform a few meters above ground level or on the roof of a building. The instrument is connected to a PC running the operating software, which stores the data, calculates the temperature profiles using specially developed algorithms, and displays the results graphically every 5 minutes. MTP-5 is unique, in that it requires no specialist knowledge to operate. It is self-calibrating and produces the temperature profiles automatically in all conditions and in real time. These are the big advantages of the MTP-5 compared to other technologies including multi-channel-radiometers.

MTP-5 is a remote sensing instrument that measures microwave radiation emitted from the lower 1000 m of the atmosphere, within the Planetary Boundary Layer. The atmosphere is a strong source of radiation but the changes due to temperature are small, so a very sensitive receiver is required. Unique radiometers and specially designed antennae operating in the 5 mm waveband form the heart of MTP-5 the single-channel-radiometer.

Atmospheric radiation is measured by scanning in angular steps from horizontal to vertical position. The operating software processes the data into vertical height and temperature information T(h). The data is stored and profiles are displayed graphically every 5 minutes, typically showing the temperature in 25 and 50 m height intervals.

We also supply you with the most modern IT technology for optimal storage and processing of your data. Here we use products from leading manufacturers.


» Monitoring of urban air quality
» Investigation into urban heat island effects
» Monitoring of atmospheric stability at airports
» Regional and mesoscale forecasting in meteorology
» Input to emergency management systems of nuclear power stations and petrochemical facilities
» Support of energy balance studies and fog forecasting
» Research into radio wave and laser beam propagation
» Atmospheric chemistry research

MTP-5-H is the compact standard unit. It makes measurements up to 1000 m above the instrument and gives the same performance in all weather conditions. It is compact and operates from 12 VDC. The rotating scanner assembly is protected by a special cover having very good microwave transmission. The cover sheds precipitation and allows compensation for dirt during the self-calibration. A high accuracy ambient temperature sensor is part of the self-calibrating system.

Displayed altitude resolution is 50 m and the temperature accuracy is 0.2 - 1.2°C or better (depending on type of profile). The field of view is a 2.5° cone. The only routine maintenance is the periodical cleaning of the scanner cover. MTP-5-H is ideal for use in urban environments and at airports.

MTP-5-HE (Extended range) was developed for locations where the urban/industrial area lies in a valley or close to mountains and inversions up to 1000 m can cause problems. Displayed altitude resolution is from 25 to 50 m. In order to measure to 1000 m a more sensitive and narrower bandwidth design of microwave radiometer is used and the frequency is slightly shifted to ‘see’ further in the atmosphere.

MTP-5-PE (Polar Extended range) and RE uses a similar microwave radiometer to the MTP-5-HE. However, it is designed to provide much improved altitude resolution. Displayed altitude resolution is down to 10 m in the first 100 m range. This is important for measurements over snow and ice, where temperature gradients can be very steep over small height increments. Similar effects can be observed over desert surfaces.

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For models HE, RE und PE the profile can be extended up to 2000 m by statistic modelling.


Real-time data as well as the MTP-5 at work can be seen here:
The camera shows the rotating MTP-5 in Moscow (55°55´32´´N, 37°31´23´´E) and the corresponding date is displayed. In addition, further data examples such as a project in Bergen, Norway are listed.
Application examples/ references:

Climate agency of the Thuringian State Institute for Environment and Geology (TLUG)
The climate agency of TLUG is using an MTP-5-HE since 2015 for the measurement of air temperature profile on different locations in Thuringia. The main application possibilites hereby are:
» generation of inversions statistics,
» vertical extension of urban heat islands,
» environmental sensitive traffic control in cities,
» atmospheric dispersion modelling for pollutants and acoustic emission,
» measurement of remperature changes due to cold air streams,
» icing potential of buildings (height of zero degree level).

For further information please have a look into the PDF file or to the Website of TLUG.

Geodetic Observatory Wettzell of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy
At the Observatory Wettzell the MTP-5-H was integrated into the measurement techniques of the meteorological station. The data from the vertical temperature profiles are used for the calculation of run time differences of (satellite) signals due to „Wet Path Delays“ of the atmoshpere.
For further information please have a look to Website of the Observatory.

Novia University of Applied Sciences, Nordic Wind Energy Center, Vaasa, Finnland
Researchers of the University in Vaasa are using the MTP-5 -E to investigate the sound propagation of wind turbines. Information on the WindCoE-project and temperature profile data can be found here:

MTP-5 deployment sites
Current Research Topics and Publications:

On ResearchGate exists a list of MTP-5 users and their current projects and publications. Furthermore, you can ask your questions to experts and share your experiences with the measurement system.

More information is available as PDF document.
Specifications are subject to change without notice.