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  • Author or Editor: John E. Gaynor x
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John E. Gaynor


We explain, using in situ data, some of the mechanisms contributing to acoustic backscatter measured using an active, vertically pointing echosonde (acoustic sounder) mounted aboard ship in the tropical Atlantic. Averaged tethered-sonde profiles indicate that the substantial wind shear through the low-level stable layer in the wake of precipitating convection contributes to the acoustic backscatter from this layer. The undisturbed top of the mixed layer shows much weaker shear and no echo, although the average stabilities are nearly the same in the undisturbed and wake cases. Combining theory with data provides an explanation of the importance of moisture in acoustic backscatter. In the suppressed mixed layer (little or no precipitating convection) the contribution to the backscatter due to moisture (Ce 2) approaches a factor of 3 greater than temperature fluctuations alone (CT 2. In the disturbed boundary layer (organized convection) and moderately disturbed boundary layer (isolated convection), the moisture contributes less than 20%. Except near the top and near the bottom of the suppressed mixed layer, the co-fluctuations of moisture and temperature (Cet contribute immaterially. The categorized profiles of CT 2, Ce 2 and Cet do not exhibit clear tendencies toward Z −4/3 slopes predicted by other authors.

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Earl E. Gossard, Russell B. Chadwick, Thomas R. Detman, and John Gaynor


Radars and acoustic sounding systems sense properties of the turbulence structure of the atmosphere. If atmospheric turbulence can be related to the mean gradient parameters, Doppler radars and acoustic sounders can provide information about height profiles of quantities such as temperature and refractive index as well as wind in stable regions of the atmosphere. In this paper turbulent and mean quantities were measured on the 300 m meteorological tower at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory near Erie, Colorado, and the relationships between the turbulent and mean gradient quantities were examined in order to evaluate hypotheses for simplifying the kinetic energy balance and refractive index variance equations. FM-CW radar measurements of backscattered power and Doppler spectral width were also made for comparison with tower-measured refractive index spectra and Doppler velocity spectra. Height distributions of the turbulent dissipation rate within stable layers are shown and viscous cutoff radar wavelengths calculated.

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