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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 7 | Copyright

Special issue: Pushing the limits: The eXperimental Planetary boundary layer...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2595-2611, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-2595-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 Jul 2017

Research article | 20 Jul 2017

Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars

Katherine McCaffrey1,2, Laura Bianco1,2, and James M. Wilczak2 Katherine McCaffrey et al.
  • 1University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3337, USA
  • 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3337, USA

Abstract. Observations of turbulence dissipation rates in the planetary boundary layer are crucial for validation of parameterizations in numerical weather prediction models. However, because dissipation rates are difficult to obtain, they are infrequently measured through the depth of the boundary layer. For this reason, demonstrating the ability of commonly used wind profiling radars (WPRs) to estimate this quantity would be greatly beneficial. During the XPIA field campaign at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, two WPRs operated in an optimized configuration, using high spectral resolution for increased accuracy of Doppler spectral width, specifically chosen to estimate turbulence from a vertically pointing beam. Multiple post-processing techniques, including different numbers of spectral averages and peak processing algorithms for calculating spectral moments, were evaluated to determine the most accurate procedures for estimating turbulence dissipation rates using the information contained in the Doppler spectral width, using sonic anemometers mounted on a 300m tower for validation. The optimal settings were determined, producing a low bias, which was later corrected. Resulting estimations of turbulence dissipation rates correlated well (R2 = 0. 54 and 0. 41) with the sonic anemometers, and profiles up to 2km from the 449MHz WPR and 1km from the 915MHz WPR were observed.

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Short summary
In this paper, we use two wind profiling radars, operating along side a highly instrumented 300 m meteorological tower, to observe turbulence dissipation rates in the planetary boundary layer from an optimized performance setup. Analysis of post-processing techniques, including spectral averaging and moments' calculation methods, shows the optimal parameters which result in good agreement, especially after bias corrections, with sonic anemometers on the tall tower.
In this paper, we use two wind profiling radars, operating along side a highly instrumented...
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