UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Use of Synthetic Data to Test Flight Patterns for a Boundary Layer Field Experiment. Santoso, Edi; Stull, Roland B.


A virtual research aircraft was flown through a synthetic atmospheric boundary layer to help design a real flight plan that would allow robust turbulence statistics to be obtained in a heterogeneous, evolving, convective boundary layer. The synthetic boundary layer data consisted of a field of coherent, large-diameter, thermal updraft/downdraft structures, superimposed in random smaller-scale turbulence having a Gaussian distribution. These large and small eddy perturbations, with scales set from published empirical relationships, were superimposed on the expected mean profiles of wind and potential temperature. The goal was to determine whether sufficiently robust line-averaged statistics could be gathered to study a new similarity theory for the radix layer, the bottom fifth of the convective boundary layer, where mean profiles are not uniform with height. After testing a variety of flight patterns with the synthetic data, a vertical zigzag pattern of slant ascent/descent legs was selected as the best compromise, given typical aircraft flight and safety constraints. This flight pattern was then successfully flown with the University of Wyoming King Air aircraft in the real atmosphere during Boundary Layer Experiment 1996 (BLX96) over Oklahoma and Kansas. Postexperiment comparison revealed that the synthetic data exhibited less scatter than the actual data, perhaps caused by a heterogeneous surface and a nonstationary boundary layer. Based on this comparison, some practical recommendations are given for future use of synthetic boundary layer data. Copyright 1999 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyright@ametsoc.org.

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