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A Pressure-Sphere Anemometer for Measuring Turbulence and Fluxes in Hurricanes

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  • 1 Field Research Division, NOAA/Air Resources Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • | 2 Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, NOAA/Air Resources Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • | 3 Field Research Division, NOAA/Air Resources Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho
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Abstract

Turbulence and air-surface exchange are important factors throughout the life cycle of a tropical cyclone. Conventional turbulence instruments are not designed to function in the extreme environment encountered in such storms. A new instrument called the Extreme Turbulence (ET) probe has been developed specifically for measuring turbulence on a fixed tower in hurricane conditions. Although the probe is designed for surface deployment, it is based on the same pressure-sphere technology used for aircraft gust probes.

The ET probe is designed around a 43-cm-diameter sphere with 30 pressure ports distributed over its surface. A major obstacle during development was finding a method to prevent water from fouling the pressure ports. Two approaches were investigated: a passive approach using gravity drainage and an active approach using an air pump to flush water from the ports. The probes were tested in both dry and wet conditions by mounting them on a vehicle side by side with more conventional instruments. In dry conditions, test data from the ET probes were in good agreement with the conventional instruments. In rain, probes using the passive rain defense performed about as well as in dry conditions, with the exception of some water intrusion into the temperature sensors. The active rain defense has received only limited attention so far, mainly because of the success and simplicity of the passive defense.

* Deceased

Corresponding author address: Dr. Richard M. Eckman, NOAA/ARL, Field Research Division, 1750 Foote Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83402. Email: Richard.Eckman@noaa.gov

Abstract

Turbulence and air-surface exchange are important factors throughout the life cycle of a tropical cyclone. Conventional turbulence instruments are not designed to function in the extreme environment encountered in such storms. A new instrument called the Extreme Turbulence (ET) probe has been developed specifically for measuring turbulence on a fixed tower in hurricane conditions. Although the probe is designed for surface deployment, it is based on the same pressure-sphere technology used for aircraft gust probes.

The ET probe is designed around a 43-cm-diameter sphere with 30 pressure ports distributed over its surface. A major obstacle during development was finding a method to prevent water from fouling the pressure ports. Two approaches were investigated: a passive approach using gravity drainage and an active approach using an air pump to flush water from the ports. The probes were tested in both dry and wet conditions by mounting them on a vehicle side by side with more conventional instruments. In dry conditions, test data from the ET probes were in good agreement with the conventional instruments. In rain, probes using the passive rain defense performed about as well as in dry conditions, with the exception of some water intrusion into the temperature sensors. The active rain defense has received only limited attention so far, mainly because of the success and simplicity of the passive defense.

* Deceased

Corresponding author address: Dr. Richard M. Eckman, NOAA/ARL, Field Research Division, 1750 Foote Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83402. Email: Richard.Eckman@noaa.gov

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