On the use of wind profilers in meteorology
Abstract. As an introduction to this special issue of Annales Geophysicae a review is given of the applicability and performance of wind profilers. In meteorology, wind profilers play an increasingly important role. They can provide upper-wind measurements with an accuracy comparable to radiosonde data, but with a significantly higher temporal resolution. Height coverage and vertical resolution depend on the operating frequency, which, depending on the application, is usually chosen to be around 50, 400 or 1000 MHz. Measurements from stand-alone profilers in sparse data areas as well as data from wind profiler networks - which have increased the spatial resolution of an existing radiosonde network - have shown a positive impact on numerical weather forecasting. Information from nearby profilers can help the individual meterologist to optimize local short-term weather forecasts. In atmospheric research, wind profilers have been used for various boundary layer studies. In several mesoscale monitoring experiments wind profilers have played an important role. In Europe the development and implementation of wind profiler networks have been supported since 1987 by the CEC-sponsored COST-74 project. A follow-up project will probably start in 1994. Several topics deserve attention. A further assessment of the quality of wind profiler measurements is important. Automatic quality control procedures should be refined. Improved data assimilation techniques in numerical models will enable a better use of the high temporal resolution of wind profiler data. For a cost-effective development and use of wind profilers, the realization of frequency allocations, as globally harmonized as possible, is essential. Finally, the integration of wind profilers with other complementary measuring techniques is important.