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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-188
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-188
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 25 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 25 Nov 2019

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

Distributed observations of wind direction using microstructures attached to actively heated fiber-optic cables

Karl Lapo1,2, Anita Freundorfer1, Lena Pfister1, Johann Schneider1, John Selker3, and Christoph Thomas1,2 Karl Lapo et al.
  • 1University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
  • 2Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research, Bayreuth, Germany
  • 3Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Abstract. The weak-wind boundary layer is characterized by turbulent and submeso-scale motions that break the assumptions necessary for using traditional eddy covariance observations such as horizontal homogeneity and stationarity, motivating the need for an observational system that allows spatially resolving measurements of atmospheric flows near the surface. Fiber-Optic Distributed Sensing (FODS) potentially opens the door to observing a wide-range of atmospheric processes on a spatially distributed basis and to date has been used to resolve the turbulent fields of air temperature and wind speed on scales of second and decimeters. Here we report on progress developing a FODS technique for observing spatially distributed wind direction. We affixed microstructures shaped as cones to actively-heated fiber-optic cables with opposing orientations to impose directionally-sensitive convective heat fluxes from the fiber-optic cable to the air, leading to a difference in sensed temperature that depends on the wind direction. We demonstrate the behavior of a range of microstructure parameters including aspect ratio, spacing, and size and develop a simple deterministic model to explain the temperature differences as a function of wind speed. The mechanism behind the directionally-sensitive heat loss is explored using Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations and infrared images of the cone-fiber system. While the results presented here are only relevant for observing wind direction along one dimension it is an important step towards the ultimate goal of a full three-dimensional, distributed flow sensor.

Karl Lapo et al.
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