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Enormous Insect Swarms Are Sometimes Found On Weather Radars

Enormous Insect Swarms Are Sometimes Found On Weather Radars25332397_s

We have all seen weather radars while watching the weather channel or local TV news stations. Obviously, weather radars are designed to locate and track large areas of meteorological activity. Enormous masses of humid air that produce rainfall are tracked with modern weather radar technology in order to predict which regions will experience rainfall. The movement of snow, hail, tornadoes and hurricanes can all be tracked with weather radar. Of course weather radar can pick up other moving masses as well, but they must be exceptionally large in area in order to be spotted by radar. Every once in a while an expert will find a large mass of activity on radar that is not weather-related. In most of these cases large formations of certain airborne animals are being picked up by radar. Sometimes these animals are birds, but most of the time the unusual formations turn out to be huge swarms of insects.

It is rare for an insect swarm to become large enough to be picked up by weather radar, but it happens. In many cases, experts cannot always agree on what is causing certain formations to appear on weather radar. It is not uncommon for mysterious formations to appear and eventually disappear from radar while never being conclusively determined to be insect swarms. For example, back in 2013 the entire northern half of New Zealand was covered by some form of mass. A few experts thought that the formation could have been a dust storm, but most experts thought the formation was an insect swarm. However, experts could not agree on which type of insects were swarming to create the large mass.

Sometimes massive formations found on weather radar are conclusively found to be caused by massive insect swarms. In 2015 weather radar in Texas picked up formations that were around fifty miles in area. Not long afterward experts found that the radar formations were actually massive beetle and grasshopper swarms that were flying twenty five hundred feet above the ground. In 2014 a swarm of mayflies appeared on weather radar in Wisconsin. According to meteorologists in Wisconsin at the time, there is always at least one insect swarm that shows up on weather radar every year. Butterflies are also captured frequently on weather radars in Colorado. A seventy mile wide butterfly swarm was located on radar in Colorado as recently as October of 2017.

Do you think that butterflies would show up more easily than most other insects on weather radar due to their relatively long wingspan?