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Investigation of optical turbulence in the atmospheric surface layer using scintillometer measurements along a slant path and comparison to ultrasonic anemometer measurements

: Sprung, Detlev; Sucher, Erik; Ramkilowan, A.; Griffith, D.G.


Comeron, A. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XIX and Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XVII : 22 - 25 September 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2014 (Proceedings of SPIE 9242)
ISBN: 9781628413052
Paper 92421I, 12 pp.
Conference "Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere" <19, 2014, Amsterdam>
Conference "Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems" <17, 2014, Amsterdam>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IOSB ()
optical turbulence; height dependence; boundary layer scintillometer; ultra sonic anemometer; comparison of measurement techniques; deep turbulence

Optical turbulence represented by the structure function parameter of the refractive index Cn 2 is a relevant parameter for the performance of electro-optical systems and characterization of the atmospheric influence on imaging. It was investigated during a field trial above an Highveld grassland in the atmospheric surface layer at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve close to Pretoria in South Africa from 18th June to 30th June 2013. This campaign was performed to compare different measurement techniques analyzing the diurnal formation of the vertical distribution of optical turbulence up to a height of 16 m above ground. The chosen time period was characterized by a pronounced diurnal cycle of the meteorological conditions, i.e. low variations from day to day. Ultra sonic anemometers were used to measure high frequency time series (50 Hz) of temperature at single points. From the statistical analysis of these time series Cn 2 was derived. Three instruments were mounted at a portable mast in the center of slant path measurements over a horizontal distance of 1000 m using large aperture scintillometers (Boundary layer scintillometer BLS 900). Averaging over a time period of 5 minutes, the results of both methods are compared. The agreement in the results of optical turbulence is quite good. Discrepancies and agreement are analyzed with respect to the atmospheric stability and other meteorological parameters. Lowest values of Cn 2 at 4.6 m above ground amount to about 8*10-17 m-2/3, daily maxima to 6*10-13 m-2/3. Additional to the nearly constant meteorological conditions in the diurnal cycle, the uniformity of the terrain let the results of this measurement campaign an ideal data set for investigating methodological questions regarding a comparison of single point measurements with integrated measurements over a horizontal distance. Four stability regimes were identified in the diurnal cycle and investigated. These are convective conditions during the day, neutral conditions about sunrise and sunset, and two different stable regimes at night.