Can Wind Lidars Measure Turbulence?

Ameya Sathe, Jakob Mann, Julia Gottschall, Michael Courtney

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Modeling of the systematic errors in the second-order moments of wind speeds measured by continuous-wave (ZephIR) and pulsed (WindCube) lidars is presented. These lidars use the conical scanning technique to measure the velocity field. The model captures the effect of volume illumination and conical scanning. The predictions are compared with the measurements from the ZephIR, WindCube, and sonic anemometers at a flat terrain test site under different atmospheric stability conditions. The sonic measurements are used at several heights on a meteorological mast in combination with lidars that are placed on the ground. Results show that the systematic errors are up to 90% for the vertical velocity variance, whereas they are up to 70% for the horizontal velocity variance. For the ZephIR, the systematic errors increase with height, whereas for the WindCube, they decrease with height. The systematic errors also vary with atmospheric stability and are low for unstable conditions. In general, for both lidars, the model agrees well with the measurements at all heights and under different atmospheric stability conditions. For the ZephIR, the model results are improved when an additional low-pass filter for the 3-s scan is also modeled. It is concluded that with the current measurement configuration, these lidars cannot be used to measure turbulence precisely.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)853-868
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Remote sensing and measurement technique


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