skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars

Abstract

Observations of turbulence dissipation rates in the planetary boundary layer are crucial for validation of parameterizations in numerical weather prediction models. However, because dissipation rates are difficult to obtain, they are infrequently measured through the depth of the boundary layer. For this reason, demonstrating the ability of commonly used wind profiling radars (WPRs) to estimate this quantity would be greatly beneficial. During the XPIA field campaign at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, two WPRs operated in an optimized configuration, using high spectral resolution for increased accuracy of Doppler spectral width, specifically chosen to estimate turbulence from a vertically pointing beam. Multiple post-processing techniques, including different numbers of spectral averages and peak processing algorithms for calculating spectral moments, were evaluated to determine the most accurate procedures for estimating turbulence dissipation rates using the information contained in the Doppler spectral width, using sonic anemometers mounted on a 300 m tower for validation. Furthermore, the optimal settings were determined, producing a low bias, which was later corrected. Resulting estimations of turbulence dissipation rates correlated well ( R 2 = 0.54 and 0.41) with the sonic anemometers, and profiles up to 2 km from the 449 MHz WPR and 1 km from the 915 MHzmore » WPR were observed.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); NOAA Earth System Research Lab., Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. NOAA Earth System Research Lab., Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the NOAA Earth System Research Lab., Physical Division
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1393192
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (Online); Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1867-8548
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

McCaffrey, Katherine, Bianco, Laura, and Wilczak, James M. Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.5194/amt-10-2595-2017.
McCaffrey, Katherine, Bianco, Laura, & Wilczak, James M. Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars. United States. doi:10.5194/amt-10-2595-2017.
McCaffrey, Katherine, Bianco, Laura, and Wilczak, James M. 2017. "Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars". United States. doi:10.5194/amt-10-2595-2017. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1393192.
@article{osti_1393192,
title = {Improved observations of turbulence dissipation rates from wind profiling radars},
author = {McCaffrey, Katherine and Bianco, Laura and Wilczak, James M.},
abstractNote = {Observations of turbulence dissipation rates in the planetary boundary layer are crucial for validation of parameterizations in numerical weather prediction models. However, because dissipation rates are difficult to obtain, they are infrequently measured through the depth of the boundary layer. For this reason, demonstrating the ability of commonly used wind profiling radars (WPRs) to estimate this quantity would be greatly beneficial. During the XPIA field campaign at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, two WPRs operated in an optimized configuration, using high spectral resolution for increased accuracy of Doppler spectral width, specifically chosen to estimate turbulence from a vertically pointing beam. Multiple post-processing techniques, including different numbers of spectral averages and peak processing algorithms for calculating spectral moments, were evaluated to determine the most accurate procedures for estimating turbulence dissipation rates using the information contained in the Doppler spectral width, using sonic anemometers mounted on a 300 m tower for validation. Furthermore, the optimal settings were determined, producing a low bias, which was later corrected. Resulting estimations of turbulence dissipation rates correlated well (R2 = 0.54 and 0.41) with the sonic anemometers, and profiles up to 2 km from the 449 MHz WPR and 1 km from the 915 MHz WPR were observed.},
doi = {10.5194/amt-10-2595-2017},
journal = {Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (Online)},
number = 7,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 7
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:
  • Coincident profiling observations from Doppler lidars and radars are used to estimate the turbulence energy dissipation rate (ε) using three different data sources: (i) Doppler radar velocity (DRV), (ii) Doppler lidar velocity (DLV), and (iii) Doppler radar spectrum width (DRW) measurements. Likewise, the agreement between the derived ε estimates is examined at the cloud base height of stratiform warm clouds. Collocated ε estimates based on power spectra analysis of DRV and DLV measurements show good agreement (correlation coefficient of 0.86 and 0.78 for both cases analyzed here) during both drizzling and nondrizzling conditions. This suggests that unified (below and abovemore » cloud base) time-height estimates of ε in cloud-topped boundary layer conditions can be produced. This also suggests that eddy dissipation rate can be estimated throughout the cloud layer without the constraint that clouds need to be nonprecipitating. Eddy dissipation rate estimates based on DRW measurements compare well with the estimates based on Doppler velocity but their performance deteriorates as precipitation size particles are introduced in the radar volume and broaden the DRW values. And, based on this finding, a methodology to estimate the Doppler spectra broadening due to the spread of the drop size distribution is presented. Furthermore, the uncertainties in ε introduced by signal-to-noise conditions, the estimation of the horizontal wind, the selection of the averaging time window, and the presence of precipitation are discussed in detail.« less
  • This study first illustrates the utility of using the Doppler spectrum width from millimetrewavelength radar to calculate the energy dissipation rate and then to use the energy dissipation rate to study turbulence structure in a continental stratocumulus cloud. It is shown that the turbulence kinetic energy dissipation rate calculated from the radar-measured Doppler spectrum width agrees well with that calculated from the Doppler velocity power spectrum. During the 16-h stratocumulus cloud event, the small-scale turbulence contributes 40%of the total velocity variance at cloud base, 50% at normalized cloud depth=0.8 and 70% at cloud top, which suggests that small-scale turbulence playsmore » a critical role near the cloud top where the entrainment and cloud-top radiative cooling act. The 16-h mean vertical integral length scale decreases from about 160 m at cloud base to 60 m at cloud top, and this signifies that the larger scale turbulence dominates around cloud base whereas the small-scale turbulence dominates around cloud top. The energy dissipation rate, total variance and squared spectrum width exhibit diurnal variations, but unlike marine stratocumulus they are high during the day and lowest around sunset at all levels; energy dissipation rates increase at night with the intensification of the cloud-top cooling. In the normalized coordinate system, the averaged coherent structure of updrafts is characterized by low energy dissipation rates in the updraft core and higher energy dissipation rates surround the updraft core at the top and along the edges. In contrast, the energy dissipation rate is higher inside the downdraft core indicating that the downdraft core is more turbulent. The turbulence around the updraft is weaker at night and stronger during the day; the opposite is true around the downdraft. This behaviour indicates that the turbulence in the downdraft has a diurnal cycle similar to that observed in marine stratocumuluswhereas the turbulence diurnal cycle in the updraft is reversed. For both updraft and downdraft, the maximum energy dissipation rate occurs at a cloud depth=0.8 where the maximum reflectivity and air acceleration or deceleration are observed. Resolved turbulence dominates near cloud base whereas unresolved turbulence dominates near cloud top. Similar to the unresolved turbulence, the resolved turbulence described by the radial velocity variance is higher in the downdraft than in the updraft. The impact of the surface heating on the resolved turbulence in the updraft decreases with height and diminishes around the cloud top. In both updrafts and downdrafts, the resolved turbulence increases with height and reaches a maximum at cloud depth=0.4 and then decreases to the cloud top; the resolved turbulence near cloud top, just as the unresolved turbulence, is mostly due to the cloud-top radiative cooling.« less
  • The United States Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program operates millimeter-wavelength cloud radars in several climatologically distinct regions. The digital signal processors for these radars were recently upgraded and allow for enhancements in the operational parameters running on them. Recent evaluations of millimeter-wavelength cloud radar signal processing performance relative to the range of cloud dynamical and microphysical conditions encountered at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program sites have indicated that improvements are necessary, including significant improvement in temporal resolution (i.e., less than 1 s for dwell and 2 s for dwell and processing), wider Nyquist velocities, operational dealiasing of themore » recorded spectra, removal of pulse compression while sampling the boundary layer, and continuous recording of Doppler spectra. The new set of millimeter-wavelength cloud radar operational modes that incorporate these enhancements is presented. A significant change in radar sampling is the introduction of an uneven mode sequence with 50% of the sampling time dedicated to the lower atmosphere, allowing for detailed characterization of boundary layer clouds. The changes in the operational modes have a substantial impact on the post-processing algorithms that are used to extract cloud information from the radar data. New methods for post-processing of recorded Doppler spectra are presented that result in more accurate identification of radar clutter (e.g., insects) and extraction of turbulence and microphysical information. Results of recent studies on the error characteristics of derived Doppler moments are included so that uncertainty estimates are now included with the moments. A micro-scale data product based on the new temporal resolution of the millimeter-wavelength cloud radars is proposed that contains the number of local maxima in each Doppler spectrum, the Doppler moments of the primary peak, uncertainty estimates for the Doppler moments of the primary peak, Doppler moment shape parameters (e.g., skewness and kurtosis), and clear-air clutter flags. A macro-scale, or coarse temporal resolution, product is also proposed that includes summary statistics derived from the micro-scale product. These statistics characterize the microphysical and dynamical properties of clouds over time periods of 5 min and 60 min.« less