Spatial variability of the aspect sensitivity of VHF radar echoes in the troposphere and lower stratosphere during jet stream passages
Abstract. The aspect sensitivity of SOUSY-VHF-radar oblique-beam echoes from the troposphere and lower stratosphere has been examined for a number of jet stream passages during the years 1990 - 1992. When the core of the jet is overhead or nearly so, vertical profiles of the aspect sensitivity display two notable features. First, the distinction between mainly isotropic and strongly aspect-sensitive echoes in the troposphere and the lower stratosphere, respectively, often reported for measurements made during calm conditions, does not necessarily prevail in the vicinity of the jet stream. Second, echoes obtained at altitudes near the height of the horizontal wind maximum are found to be more aspect sensitive for beams directed parallel to the horizontal flow or nearly so, than for other beam directions. It is demonstrated that time-averaged horizontal wind speeds estimated from the radar data, taking into account the reduced effective oblique-beam zenith angle resulting from aspect sensitivity, may exceed uncorrected wind speeds by as much as 10 m s-1 in these circumstances. Implications for wind profiling and for describing the backscattering process are discussed. Doppler spectral widths examined for one jet stream passage are found to be narrower in a beam aligned with the horizontal wind at heights near the wind speed maximum than corresponding widths measured in a beam projected at right angles to the jet. The narrowest spectra thus coincide with the most aspect-sensitive echoes, consistent with the hypothesis that such returns result from specular backscattering processes.