Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne What is dBZ in Meteorology?
Name: Gordon
Status: educator
Grade: N/A
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: United Kingdom
Date: Summer 2011

Cloud radar images show a scale of dBZ between +40 and -40. What are dBZ and what is their significance? Thank you.

It is a weather of equivalent reflectivity (Z) of a radar signal reflected off a cloud. dBZ stands for decibels of Z. The reference level for Z is 1 micrometer 3. It is related to the number of drops per unit volume and the drop diameter.

Nathan A. Unterman

Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory