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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
28 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Field intercomparison of prevailing sonic anemometers
Matthias Mauder and Matthias J. Zeeman Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Abstract. Three-dimensional sonic anemometers are the core component of eddy-covariance systems, which are widely used for micrometeorological and ecological research. In order to characterize the measurement uncertainty of these instruments we present and analyse the results from a field intercomparison experiment of six commonly used sonic anemometer models from four major manufacturers. These models include Campbell CSAT3, Gill HS-50 and R3, METEK uSonic-3 Omni, R.M. Young 81000 and 81000RE. The experiment was conducted over a meadow at the TERENO/ICOS site De-Fen in southern Germany over a period of 16 days in June of 2016 as part of the ScaleX campaign. The measurement height was 3 m for all sensors, which were separated by 9 m from each other, each on its own tripod, in order to limit contamination of the turbulence measurements by adjacent structures as much as possible. Moreover, the high-frequency data from all instruments were treated with the same post-processing algorithm. In this study, we compare the results for various turbulence statistics, which include mean horizontal wind speed, standard deviations of vertical wind velocity and sonic temperature, friction velocity and the buoyancy flux. Quantitative measures of uncertainty, such as bias and comparability, are derived from these results. We find that biases are generally very small for all sensors and all computed variables, except for the sonic temperature measurements of the two Gill sonic anemometers (HS and R3), confirming a known transducer-temperature dependence of the sonic temperature measurement. The best overall agreement between the different instruments was found for the mean wind speed and the buoyancy flux.

Citation: Mauder, M. and Zeeman, M. J.: Field intercomparison of prevailing sonic anemometers, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Matthias Mauder and Matthias J. Zeeman
Matthias Mauder and Matthias J. Zeeman
Matthias Mauder and Matthias J. Zeeman


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