A Comparison of Turbulence Measurements from Aircraft

Margaret A. Lemone National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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William T. Pennell National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Abstract

A performance analysis of the three turbulence-measuring aircraft which participated in the GATE is presented. These aircraft were a Lockheed C-130 operated by the Meteorological Research Flight Centre of the U.K. Meteorological Office, a Douglas DC-6 operated by the Research Flight Facility of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and a Lockheed L-188 operated by the Research Aviation Facility of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The results are based on formal intercomparison flights and analysis of fair weather days on which two or more of the aircraft were flying. In the formal intercomparison flights, two or more of the aircraft flew side by side in the fair weather atmospheric mixed layer. In both cases, the aircraft flew L-shaped patterns, consisting of 30 km legs along and normal to the mixed layer wind direction.

Quantities compared include the variances of three wind components, potential temperature, moisture, and the vertical fluxes of horizontal momentum, temperature, and moisture. The analysis shows that when all components of the gust probe system are working properly, interaircraft biases are less than the expected atmospheric variability. Quirks of the three data sets are pointed out for the benefit of future GATE data users.

Abstract

A performance analysis of the three turbulence-measuring aircraft which participated in the GATE is presented. These aircraft were a Lockheed C-130 operated by the Meteorological Research Flight Centre of the U.K. Meteorological Office, a Douglas DC-6 operated by the Research Flight Facility of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and a Lockheed L-188 operated by the Research Aviation Facility of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The results are based on formal intercomparison flights and analysis of fair weather days on which two or more of the aircraft were flying. In the formal intercomparison flights, two or more of the aircraft flew side by side in the fair weather atmospheric mixed layer. In both cases, the aircraft flew L-shaped patterns, consisting of 30 km legs along and normal to the mixed layer wind direction.

Quantities compared include the variances of three wind components, potential temperature, moisture, and the vertical fluxes of horizontal momentum, temperature, and moisture. The analysis shows that when all components of the gust probe system are working properly, interaircraft biases are less than the expected atmospheric variability. Quirks of the three data sets are pointed out for the benefit of future GATE data users.

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