22 Aug 2022
22 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Validation of the Aeolus L2B wind product with airborne wind lidar measurements in the polar North Atlantic region and in the tropics

Benjamin Witschas1, Christian Lemmerz1, Alexander Geiß2, Oliver Lux1, Uwe Marksteiner1, Stephan Rahm1, Oliver Reitebuch1, Andreas Schäfler1, and Fabian Weiler1 Benjamin Witschas et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Meteorologisches Institut, 80333 München, Germany

Abstract. During the first three years of European Space Agency’s Aeolus mission, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) performed four airborne campaigns deploying two different Doppler wind lidars (DWL) on-board the DLR Falcon aircraft, aiming to validate the quality of the recent Aeolus Level 2B (L2B) wind data product (processor baseline 11 and 12). The first two campaigns, WindVal III (Nov/Dec 2018) and AVATAR-E (Aeolus Validation Through Airborne Lidars in Europe, May/Jun 2019) were conducted in Europe and provided first insights in the data quality at the beginning of the mission phase. The two later campaigns, AVATAR-I (Aeolus Validation Through Airborne Lidars in Iceland) and AVATAR-T (Aeolus Validation Through Airborne Lidars in the Tropics), were performed in regions of particular interest for the Aeolus validation: AVATAR-I was conducted from Keflavik, Iceland between 9 September and 1 October 2019 to sample the high wind speeds in the vicinity of the polar jet stream. AVATAR-T was carried out from Sal, Cape Verde between 6 September and 28 September 2021 to measure winds in the Saharan dust-laden African easterly jet. Altogether, 10 Aeolus underflights were performed during AVATAR-I and 11 underflights during AVATAR-T, covering about 8000 km and 11000 km along the Aeolus measurement track, respectively. Based on these collocated measurements, statistical comparisons of Aeolus data with the reference lidar (2-µm DWL) as well as with in-situ measurements by the Falcon were performed to determine the systematic and random error of Rayleigh-clear and Mie-cloudy winds that are contained in the Aeolus L2B product. It is demonstrated that the systematic error almost fulfills the mission requirement of being below 0.7 m s-1 for both Rayleigh-clear and Mie-cloudy winds. The random error is shown to vary between 5.5 m s-1 and 7.1 m s-1 for Rayleigh-clear winds and is thus larger than specified (2.5 m s-1), whereas it is close to the specifications for Mie-cloudy winds (2.7 to 2.9 m s-1). In addition, the dependency of the systematic and random errors on the actual wind speed, the geolocation, the scattering ratio and the time difference between 2-µm DWL observation and satellite overflight is investigated and discussed. Thus, this work contributes to the characterization of the Aeolus data quality in different meteorological situations and allows to investigate wind retrieval algorithm improvements for reprocessed Aeolus data sets.

Benjamin Witschas et al.

Status: open (until 05 Oct 2022)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-233', Thomas Flament, 31 Aug 2022 reply

Benjamin Witschas et al.

Benjamin Witschas et al.


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Short summary
In August 2018, the first wind lidar Aeolus was launched into space and is since then providing data of the global wind field. The primary goal of Aeolus was the improvement of numerical weather prediction. To verify the quality of Aeolus wind data, DLR performed four airborne validation campaigns with two wind lidar systems. In this paper, we report on results from the two later campaigns, performed in Iceland and the tropics.