Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1215–1227, 2017

Special issue: Pushing the limits: The eXperimental Planetary boundary layer...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1215–1227, 2017

Research article 29 Mar 2017

Research article | 29 Mar 2017

Assessment of virtual towers performed with scanning wind lidars and Ka-band radars during the XPIA experiment

Mithu Debnath1, Giacomo Valerio Iungo1, W. Alan Brewer2, Aditya Choukulkar2, Ruben Delgado3, Scott Gunter4, Julie K. Lundquist5,6, John L. Schroeder7, James M. Wilczak2, and Daniel Wolfe8 Mithu Debnath et al.
  • 1Wind Fluids and Experiments (WindFluX) Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering Department, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, USA
  • 2National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth Sciences Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Atmospheric Physics Department, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 4Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA, USA
  • 5National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, USA
  • 6Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 7Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA
  • 8Physical Sciences Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. During the eXperimental Planetary boundary layer Instrumentation Assessment (XPIA) campaign, which was carried out at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) in spring 2015, multiple-Doppler scanning strategies were carried out with scanning wind lidars and Ka-band radars. Specifically, step–stare measurements were collected simultaneously with three scanning Doppler lidars, while two scanning Ka-band radars carried out simultaneous range height indicator (RHI) scans. The XPIA experiment provided the unique opportunity to compare directly virtual-tower measurements performed simultaneously with Ka-band radars and Doppler wind lidars. Furthermore, multiple-Doppler measurements were assessed against sonic anemometer data acquired from the meteorological tower (met-tower) present at the BAO site and a lidar wind profiler. This survey shows that – despite the different technologies, measurement volumes and sampling periods used for the lidar and radar measurements – a very good accuracy is achieved for both remote-sensing techniques for probing horizontal wind speed and wind direction with the virtual-tower scanning technique.

Short summary
The XPIA experiment was conducted in 2015 at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory to estimate capabilities of various remote-sensing techniques for the characterization of complex atmospheric flows. Among different tests, XPIA provided the unique opportunity to perform simultaneous virtual towers with Ka-band radars and scanning Doppler wind lidars. Wind speed and wind direction were assessed against lidar profilers and sonic anemometer data, highlighting a good accuracy of the data retrieved.