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

Submitted as: research article 30 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Sep 2019

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

On the estimation of vertical air velocity and detection of atmospheric turbulence from the ascent rate of balloon soundings

Hubert Luce1 and Hiroyuki Hashiguchi2 Hubert Luce and Hiroyuki Hashiguchi
  • 1Univ Toulon, Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS/INSU, IRD, MIO UM 110, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, La Garde, 83041, France
  • 2Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 611-0011, Japan

Abstract. Vertical ascent rate VB of meteorological balloons is sometimes used for retrieving vertical air velocity W, an important parameter for meteorological applications, but at the cost of crude hypotheses on atmospheric turbulence and without the possibility of formally validating the models from concurrent measurements. From simultaneous radar and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates ϵ, we show that VB can be strongly affected by turbulence, even above the convective boundary layer. For “weak” turbulence (here ϵ ≲ 10−4 m2 s-3), the fluctuations of VB were found to be fully consistent with W fluctuations measured from MU radar, indicating that an estimate of W can indeed be retrieved from VB if the free balloon lift is determined. In contrast, stronger turbulence intensity systematically implies an increase of VB, not associated with an increase of W according to radar data, very likely due to the decrease of the turbulence drag coefficient of the balloon. From the statistical analysis of data gathered from 376 balloons launched every 3 hours at Bengkulu (Indonesia), positive VB disturbances, mainly observed in the troposphere, were found to be clearly associated with Ri ≲ 0.25, usually indicative of turbulence, confirming the case studies. The analysis also revealed the superimposition of additional positive and negative disturbances for Ri ≲ 0.25 likely due to Kelvin-Helmholtz waves in the vicinity of the turbulent layers. From these experimental evidences, we conclude that the ascent rate of meteorological balloons, with the current performance of radiosondes in terms of altitude accuracy, can potentially be used for the detection of turbulence. The presence of turbulence makes impossible the estimation of W and misinterpretations of VB fluctuations can be made if localized turbulence effects are ignored.

Hubert Luce and Hiroyuki Hashiguchi
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Hubert Luce and Hiroyuki Hashiguchi
Hubert Luce and Hiroyuki Hashiguchi
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