CLEAR AIR TURBULENCE FREQUENCY AS A FUNCTION OF WIND SHEAR AND DEFORMATION

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  • 1 Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California
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Abstract

The probability is determined that an aircraft will encounter moderate or severe high-level turbulence during a 100-mi. flight segment when particular values of certain meteorological quantities exist in that locality. The turbulence data used are pilot reports collected by the U.S. Weather Bureau Clear Air Turbulence Project, for March 12–24, 1962 and February 4–9, 1963. The meteorological quantities which were computed from standard data include vertical vector wind shear, vertical wind direction shear, temperature lapse rate, horizontal wind shear, vorticity, and resultant deformation. A correlation of 0.45 was found between turbulence frequency and the product of vertical vector wind shear and deformation. This value is the highest correlation found so far with data of this type. The product of wind shear and deformation is an important factor in the development of fronts. One might expect that a tendency for frontogenesis would correlate better with turbulence than would frontolysis. The data however, indicate that both processes are equally important. Temperature lapse rate appeared to have little influence on the turbulence frequency except for a few occasions when conditions were nearly dry adiabatic. The regression equations between turbulence frequency and meteorological quantities that have been derived appear useful in estimating the risk of encountering turbulence in a given locality. Such turbulence estimates can be made at a particular time from the concurrent upper-air data, or on a climatological basis from the climatology of the pertinent meteorological factors.

Abstract

The probability is determined that an aircraft will encounter moderate or severe high-level turbulence during a 100-mi. flight segment when particular values of certain meteorological quantities exist in that locality. The turbulence data used are pilot reports collected by the U.S. Weather Bureau Clear Air Turbulence Project, for March 12–24, 1962 and February 4–9, 1963. The meteorological quantities which were computed from standard data include vertical vector wind shear, vertical wind direction shear, temperature lapse rate, horizontal wind shear, vorticity, and resultant deformation. A correlation of 0.45 was found between turbulence frequency and the product of vertical vector wind shear and deformation. This value is the highest correlation found so far with data of this type. The product of wind shear and deformation is an important factor in the development of fronts. One might expect that a tendency for frontogenesis would correlate better with turbulence than would frontolysis. The data however, indicate that both processes are equally important. Temperature lapse rate appeared to have little influence on the turbulence frequency except for a few occasions when conditions were nearly dry adiabatic. The regression equations between turbulence frequency and meteorological quantities that have been derived appear useful in estimating the risk of encountering turbulence in a given locality. Such turbulence estimates can be made at a particular time from the concurrent upper-air data, or on a climatological basis from the climatology of the pertinent meteorological factors.

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