Volcano Watch: Doppler radar in Ka’u provides more than a weather radar

Radar image of the May 17, 2018 eruption of ash from Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This image is a slice through the cloud at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level at 4:12 a.m. The colors scale is radar reflectivity, a measure of the size of the particles and their concentration within the ash cloud. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Naalehu radome, 39 feet in diameter. The radar dish inside is 28 feet across. (USGS photo by C. Neal/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Driving Highway 11 from Volcano to Waiohinu on sunny, vog-free days, it’s hard to miss that bright white soccer ball on the slope of Mauna Loa above Pahala Town.