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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Dec 2018

Research article | 17 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Using computational fluid dynamics and field experiments to improve vehicle-based wind measurements for environmental monitoring

Tara Hanlon and David Risk Tara Hanlon and David Risk
  • Department of Earth Sciences, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G 2W5, Canada

Abstract. Vehicle-based measurements of wind speed and direction are presently used for a range of applications, including gas plume detection. Many applications use mobile wind measurements without knowledge of the limitations and accuracy of the mobile measurement system. Our research objective for this field-simulation study was to understand how anemometer placement and the vehicle's external air flow field affect measurement accuracy of vehicle-mounted anemometers. Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) simulations were generated in Ansys FLUENT to model the external flow field of a research truck under varying vehicle speed and wind yaw angle. The CFD simulations provided a quantitative description of fluid flow surrounding the vehicle, and demonstrated that the change in windspeed magnitude from the inlet increased as the wind yaw angle between the inlet and the vehicle's longitudinal axis increased. The CFD results were used to develop empirical speed correction factors at specified yaw angles, and to derive an aerodynamics-based correction function calibrated for wind yaw angle and anemometer placement. For comparison with CFD, we designed field tests on a square, 12.8km route in flat, treeless terrain with stationary sonic anemometers positioned at each corner. The route was driven in replicate under varying wind conditions and vehicle speeds. The vehicle-based anemometer measurements were corrected to remove the vehicle speed and course vector. From the field trials, we observed that vehicle-based windspeed measurements differed in average magnitude in each of the upwind, downwind, and crosswind directions. The difference from stationary anemometers increased as the yaw angle between the wind direction and the truck's longitudinal axis increased, confirming the vehicle's impact on the surrounding flow field and validating the trends in CFD. To further explore the accuracy of CFD, we applied the function derived from the simulations to the field data, and again compared these with stationary measurements. From this study, we were able to make recommendations for anemometer placement, demonstrate the importance of applying aerodynamics-based correction factors to vehicle-based wind measurements, and identify ways to improve the empirical aerodynamic-based correction factors.

Tara Hanlon and David Risk
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Status: open (until 20 Feb 2019)
Status: open (until 20 Feb 2019)
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Tara Hanlon and David Risk
Tara Hanlon and David Risk
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this study, we aimed to improve accuracy of wind speed and direction measurements from an anemometer mounted atop a research vehicle. Controlled field tests and computer simulations showed that the vehicle shape biases airflow above the vehicle. The results indicate that placing an anemometer at a significant height (> 1 m) above the vehicle, and calibrating anemometer measurements for vehicle shape and wind angle, can be effective in reducing bias in measurements of wind speed and direction.
In this study, we aimed to improve accuracy of wind speed and direction measurements from an...