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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-235
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-235
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Sampling Error in Aircraft Flux Measurements Based on a High-Resolution Large Eddy Simulation of the Marine Boundary Layer

Grant W. Petty Grant W. Petty
  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St, Madison, WI, 53706, USA

Abstract. A high-resolution (1.25 m) LES simulation of the nocturnal cloud-topped marine boundary layer is used to evaluate random error as a function of continuous track length L for virtual aircraft measurements of turbulent fluxes of sensible heat, latent heat, and horizontal momentum. Results are compared with the theoretically derived formula of Lenschow and Stankov (1986). In support of these comparisons, we also evaluate and document the relevant integral length scales and correlations and show that for heights up to approximately 100 m (z / zi = 0.12), the length scales are accurately predicted by empirical expressions of the form If = Azb. The Lenschow and Stankov expression is found to be remarkably accurate at predicting the random error for shorter flight tracks, but our empirically determined errors decay more rapidly with L than the L−1/2 relationship predicted from theory. Consistent with earlier findings, required track lengths to obtain useful precision increase sharply with altitude.

Grant W. Petty

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Grant W. Petty

Grant W. Petty

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Latest update: 27 Oct 2020
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Short summary
Aircraft measurements of turbulent fluxes of matter and energy are an an important means for investigating the interaction of the Earth's surface and the atmosphere. Because these measurements are of randomly fluctuating quantities, averages must be taken over longer flight tracks to reduce uncertainty. This paper investigates the relationship between track length and measurement error using a computer model simulation of a marine environment and compares the results with published theory.
Aircraft measurements of turbulent fluxes of matter and energy are an an important means for...
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