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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) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Jan 2019

Research article | 10 Jan 2019

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

Evaluation of wake influence on high-resolution balloon-sonde measurements

Jens Söder1, Michael Gerding1, Andreas Schneider1,a, Andreas Dörnbrack2, Henrike Wilms2, Johannes Wagner2, and Franz-Josef Lübken1 Jens Söder et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Rostock (IAP), Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 2German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IPA), Wessling, Germany
  • anow at: SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. Balloons are used for various in-situ measurements in the atmosphere. On turbulence measurements from rising balloons there is a potential for misinterpreting wake-created fluctuations in the trail of the balloon for atmospheric turbulence. These wake effects have an influence on temperature and humidity measurements from radiosondes as well. The primary aim of this study is to assess the likelihood for wake encounter on the payload below a rising balloon. Therefore, we present a tool for calculating this probability based on radiosonde wind data. This includes a retrieval of vertical winds from the radiosonde and an uncertainty analysis of the wake assessment. Our wake evaluation tool may be used for any balloon-gondola distance and provides a significant refinement compared to existing assessments. We have analysed wake effects for various balloon-gondola distances applying atmospheric background conditions from a set of 30 radiosondes. For a standard radiosonde we find an average probability for wake encounter of 28 %, pointing out the importance of estimating wake effects on sounding balloons. Furthermore, we find that even millimetre sized objects in the payload can have significant effects on high-resolution turbulence measurements, if they are located upstream of the turbulence sensor.

Jens Söder et al.
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Jens Söder et al.
Jens Söder et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Atmospheric measurements on rising balloons can be compromised by the balloon's wake. The aim of this study is to provide a tool for assessing the likelihood of encountering the balloon's wake at the position of the gondola. This includes an uncertainty analysis of the calculation and a retrieval of vertical winds. We find an average wake encounter probability of 28 % for a standard radiosonde. Additionally, we evaluate the influence of wake from smaller objects on turbulence measurements.
Atmospheric measurements on rising balloons can be compromised by the balloon's wake. The aim of...