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Martin Weissmann, Andreas Dörnbrack, and James D. Doyle

Abstract

A method is presented to compute the spanwise vorticity in polar coordinates from 2D vertical cross sections of high-resolution line-of-sight Doppler wind lidar observations. The method uses the continuity equation to derive the velocity component perpendicular to the observed line-of-sight velocity, which then yields the spanwise vorticity component. The results of the method are tested using a ground-based Doppler lidar, which was deployed during the Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX). The resulting fields can be used to identify and quantify the strength and size of vortices, such as those associated with atmospheric rotors. Furthermore, they may serve to investigate the dynamics and evolution of vortices and to evaluate numerical simulations. A demonstration of the method and comparison with high-resolution numerical simulations reveals that the derived vorticity can explain 66% of the mean-square vorticity fluctuations, has a reasonably skillful magnitude, exhibits no significant bias, and is in qualitative agreement with model-derived vorticity.

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Junhong Wang, Jianchun Bian, William O. Brown, Harold Cole, Vanda Grubišić, and Kate Young

Abstract

The primary goal of this study is to explore the potential for estimating the vertical velocity (VV) of air from the surface to the stratosphere, using widely available radiosonde and dropsonde data. The rise and fall rates of radiosondes and dropsondes, respectively, are a combination of the VV of the atmosphere and still-air rise–fall rates. The still-air rise–fall rates are calculated using basic fluid dynamics and characteristics of radiosonde and dropsonde systems. This study validates the technique to derive the VV from radiosonde and dropsonde data and demonstrates its value. This technique can be easily implemented by other users for various scientific applications.

The technique has been applied to the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) dropsonde and radiosonde data. Comparisons among radiosonde, dropsonde, aircraft, and profiling radar vertical velocities show that the sonde-estimated VV is able to capture and describe events with strong vertical motions (larger than ∼1 m s−1) observed during T-REX. The VV below ∼5 km above ground, however, is overestimated by the radiosonde data. The analysis of derived VVs shows interesting features of gravity waves, rotors, and turbulence. Periodic variations of vertical velocity in the stratosphere, as indicated by the radiosonde data, correspond to the horizontal wavelength of gravity waves with an averaged horizontal wavelength of ∼15 km. Two-dimensional VV structure is described in detail by successive dropsonde deployment.

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Susanne Drechsel, Georg J. Mayr, Michel Chong, Martin Weissmann, Andreas Dörnbrack, and Ronald Calhoun

Abstract

During the field campaign of the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) in the spring of 2006, Doppler lidar measurements were taken in the complex terrain of the Californian Owens Valley for six weeks. While fast three-dimensional (3D) wind analysis from measured radial wind components is well established for dual weather radars, only the feasibility was shown for dual-Doppler lidars. A computationally inexpensive, variational analysis method developed for multiple-Doppler radar measurements over complex terrain was applied. The general flow pattern of the 19 derived 3D wind fields is slightly smoothed in time and space because of lidar scan duration and analysis algorithm. The comparison of extracted wind profiles to profiles from radiosondes and wind profiler reveals differences of wind speed and direction of less than 1.1 m s−1 and 3°, on average, with standard deviations not exceeding 2.7 m s−1 and 27°, respectively. Standard velocity–azimuth display (VAD) retrieval method provided higher vertical resolution than the dual-Doppler retrieval, but no horizontal structure of the flow field. The authors suggest a simple way to obtain a good first guess for a dual-lidar scan strategy geared toward 3D wind retrieval that minimizes scan duration and maximizes spatial coverage.

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Gregory S. Poulos, Junhong Wang, Dean K. Lauritsen, and Harold L. Cole

Abstract

The dropwindsonde (or dropsonde) is a frequently utilized tool in geophysical research and its use over ocean and flat terrain is a reliable and well-established practice. Its use in complex terrain, however, is complicated by signal acquisition challenges that can be directly related to the ground target location, local relief, and line of sight to flight tracks relevant to the observation sought. This note describes a straightforward technique to calculate the theoretical altitude above ground to which a ground-targeted dropsonde will provide data for a given airborne platform. It is found that this height H Cq can be calculated from expected airborne platform horizontal velocity U ag, mean dropwindsonde vertical velocity Ws, the relevant barrier maximum HB, and the horizontal distance from the target area to the barrier maximum DB. Here, H Cq is found to be weakly dependent on release altitude through Ws. An example from the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) is used to show that for modern aircraft platforms and dropwindsondes signal loss can occur 1–2 km above ground if mitigation is not pursued. Practical mitigation techniques are described for those complex terrain cases where signal propagation problems would create a significant negative scientific impact.

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