The Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar. Part II: Green OAWL (GrOAWL) Airborne Performance and Validation
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The Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar. Part II: Green OAWL (GrOAWL) Airborne Performance and Validation
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  • Source:
    Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 35(10), 2099-2116.
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  • Description:
    A two-look airborne Doppler wind lidar operating at the 532-nm laser wavelength, the Green Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (GrOAWL), was built and flown aboard the NASA WB-57 research aircraft. Flight campaign goals were to validate the instrument wind measurements and to demonstrate the two-look measurement concept proposed for spaceborne mission concepts such as the Atmospheric Transport, Hurricanes, and Extratropical Numerical Weather Prediction with the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (ATHENA-OAWL) mission. The GrOAWL-measured winds were compared with collocated dropsonde measurements. Line-of-sight velocity (LOSV) measurements for the individual GrOAWL looks showed excellent agreement with dropsondes (R-2 > 0.9). The LOSV biases were very small and not statistically different from 0 m s(-1) at the 95% confidence interval (-0.07 +/- 0.07 m s(-1) and 0.01 +/- 0.07 m s(-1) for look 1 and look 2, respectively). The wind speed and direction profiles retrieved by combining the two GrOAWL looks were also in very good agreement (R-2 > 0.85). An instrument performance model indicated the instrument wind measurement precision was likely lowered (uncertainty was increased) by a factor of similar to 3.3 during the flights relative to predicted as built instrument performance. The reduced performance was not observed during ground-based atmospheric testing and thus has been attributed to impacts of the harsh operating conditions of the WB-57 aircraft (high vibration, thermal gradients, and high humidity). The exercise of scaling the GrOAWL instrument performance and grid scale to space showed space-based OAWL wind measurements would yield products with precision at least as good as the GrOAWL instrument.
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