Oregon State University

First application of high-resolution DTS to observe airflows published

Spatiotemporal dynamics of the top of a cold-air pool as observed with high-resolution fiber optic temperature sensingPublication: We present a novel approach based on fibre-optic distributed temperature sensing (DTS) to measure the two-dimensional thermal structure of the surface layer at high resolution (0.25 m, 0.5 Hz). Observations were obtained from a vertically oriented fibre optics array during the DONUTSS campaign. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the potential of the DTS technique to study small-scale processes in the surface layer over a wide range of atmospheric stability, and to analyse the space-time dynamics of transient cold-air pools in the calm boundary layer.

The time response and precision of the fibre temperatures were adequate to resolve individual sub-metre sized turbulent and non-turbulent structures of time scales of seconds in the convective, neutral, and stable surface layer. Meaningful sensible heat fluxes were computed using the eddy covariance technique when combined with vertical wind observations. We further present a framework that determines the optimal environmental conditions for applying the fibre optics technique in the surface layer and identifies areas for potentially significant improvements of the DTS performance. The high-resolution DTS technique opens a new window into spatially sampling geophysical fluid flows including turbulent energy exchange with a broad potential in environmental sciences including meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, and ecology. The full citation is:

Thomas, C.K., Kennedy, A.M., Selker, J.S., Moretti, A., Schroth, M.H., Smoot, A.R., Tufillaro, N.B. and Zeeman, M.J., 2012. High-resolution fibre-optic temperature sensing: A new tool to study the two-dimensional structure of atmospheric surface layer flow. Boundary-Layer Meteorol., 142: 177-192. DOI: 10.1007/s10546-011-9672-7.

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