Superpressure Balloons as Isentropic/Isopycnic Tracers

Ralph D. Reynolds Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory, U.S. Army Electronics Command, White Sands Missile Range, N.M. 88002

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Abstract

Synchronous radar, temperature and pressure data of suitable quality, gathered from three balloon flights of the Mountain Wave Project, were analyzed in detail to show the relationships between balloon-depicted waves and isentropic and isopycnic waves. Results show that in wave conditions, superpressure balloons: 1) follow the undulations of density surfaces but overestimate crests and troughs of waves by an average error of 6%; and 2) follow isentropic surfaces, but underestimate true wave crests by.an average error of 5%, and true wave troughs by errors averaging 30%.

Abstract

Synchronous radar, temperature and pressure data of suitable quality, gathered from three balloon flights of the Mountain Wave Project, were analyzed in detail to show the relationships between balloon-depicted waves and isentropic and isopycnic waves. Results show that in wave conditions, superpressure balloons: 1) follow the undulations of density surfaces but overestimate crests and troughs of waves by an average error of 6%; and 2) follow isentropic surfaces, but underestimate true wave crests by.an average error of 5%, and true wave troughs by errors averaging 30%.

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