Abstract

The observation accuracy of the surface air temperature less than 0.1 K is a requirement, stated by the meteorological and climatological community. However, the accuracy of a temperature sensor inside a shield is affected by a number of factors including solar radiation, wind speed, upwelling long-wave radiation, air density, sun elevation angle, sun azimuth angle, underlying surface, precipitation, moisture, structure and coating of the radiation shield. Due to these factors, the temperature error of the temperature sensor may be much larger than 1 K under adverse conditions. To improve the observation accuracy, this paper proposed a spherical temperature sensor array. A series of analytical calculations based on a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method is performed to verify the design principle of this sensor array. The calculation results show that the temperature error ratio can be assumed as a constant. To verify the accuracy of this sensor array, simulations and observation experiments are conducted. The simulation results show that the mean difference between the temperature provided by this sensor array and the reference air temperature is 0.072 K. The field experiment results show that a root mean square error (RMSE) and a mean absolute error (MAE) between the temperature provided by this sensor array and the reference air temperature are 0.173 K and 0.153 K, respectively.

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