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Comparisons of the NASA ER-2 Meteorological Measurement System with Radar Tracking and Radiosonde Data

Steven E. GainesSterling Software, Palo Alto, California

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Stuart W. BowenSan Jose State University, San Jose, California

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R. Stephen HipskindNASA Ames Research CEnter, Moffett Field, California

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T. Paul BuiNASA Ames Research CEnter, Moffett Field, California

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K. Roland ChanNASA Ames Research CEnter, Moffett Field, California

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Abstract

Measurements of aircraft longitude, latitude, and velocity, and measurements of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and horizontal wind from the meteorological measurement system (MMS) on board the NASA ER-2 aircraft were compared with independent measurements of these quantities from radiosondes and radar tracking of both the ER-2 and radiosonde balloons. In general, the comparisons were good and within the expected measurement accuracy and natural variability of the meteorological parameters.

Radar tracking of the ER-2 resolved the velocity and position drift of the inertial navigation system (INS). The rms errors in the horizontal velocity components of the ER-2, due to INS errors, were found to be 0.5 m s−1. The magnitude of the drift in longitude and latitude depends on the sign and magnitude of the corresponding component velocity drift and can be a few hundredths of a degree.

The radar altitudes of the ER-2 and radiosondes were used as the basis for comparing measurements of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and horizontal wind from these two platforms. The uncertainty in the MMS horizontal wind measurement is estimated to be ±2.5 m s−1. The accuracy of the MMS pressure and temperature measurements were inferred to be ±0.3 hPa and ±0.3 K.

Abstract

Measurements of aircraft longitude, latitude, and velocity, and measurements of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and horizontal wind from the meteorological measurement system (MMS) on board the NASA ER-2 aircraft were compared with independent measurements of these quantities from radiosondes and radar tracking of both the ER-2 and radiosonde balloons. In general, the comparisons were good and within the expected measurement accuracy and natural variability of the meteorological parameters.

Radar tracking of the ER-2 resolved the velocity and position drift of the inertial navigation system (INS). The rms errors in the horizontal velocity components of the ER-2, due to INS errors, were found to be 0.5 m s−1. The magnitude of the drift in longitude and latitude depends on the sign and magnitude of the corresponding component velocity drift and can be a few hundredths of a degree.

The radar altitudes of the ER-2 and radiosondes were used as the basis for comparing measurements of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and horizontal wind from these two platforms. The uncertainty in the MMS horizontal wind measurement is estimated to be ±2.5 m s−1. The accuracy of the MMS pressure and temperature measurements were inferred to be ±0.3 hPa and ±0.3 K.

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