Articles | Volume 34, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 34, 767–780, 2016
Ann. Geophys., 34, 767–780, 2016

Regular paper 16 Sep 2016

Regular paper | 16 Sep 2016

Simultaneous observations of structure function parameter of refractive index using a high-resolution radar and the DataHawk small airborne measurement system

Danny E. Scipión1, Dale A. Lawrence2, Marco A. Milla1, Ronald F. Woodman3, Diego A. Lume1, and Ben B. Balsley4,† Danny E. Scipión et al.
  • 1Radio Observatorio de Jicamarca, Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Lima, Peru
  • 2Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Lima, Peru
  • 4Cooperative Institute for Research in Environment Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • deceased, 30 July 2013

Abstract. The SOUSY (SOUnding SYstem) radar was relocated to the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO) near Lima, Peru, in 2000, where the radar controller and acquisition system were upgraded with state-of-the-art parts to take full advantage of its potential for high-resolution atmospheric sounding. Due to its broad bandwidth (4 MHz), it is able to characterize clear-air backscattering with high range resolution (37.5 m).

A campaign conducted at JRO in July 2014 aimed to characterize the lower troposphere with a high temporal resolution (8.1 Hz) using the DataHawk (DH) small unmanned aircraft system, which provides in situ atmospheric measurements at scales as small as 1 m in the lower troposphere and can be GPS-guided to obtain measurements within the beam of the radar. This was a unique opportunity to make coincident observations by both systems and to directly compare their in situ and remotely sensed parameters.

Because SOUSY only points vertically, it is only possible to retrieve vertical radar profiles caused by changes in the refractive index within the resolution volume. Turbulent variations due to scattering are described by the structure function parameter of refractive index Cn2.

Profiles of Cn2 from the DH are obtained by combining pressure, temperature, and relative humidity measurements along the helical trajectory and integrated at the same scale as the radar range resolution. Excellent agreement is observed between the Cn2 estimates obtained from the DH and SOUSY in the overlapping measurement regime from 1200 m up to 4200 m above sea level, and this correspondence provides the first accurate calibration of the SOUSY radar for measuring Cn2.

Short summary
The paper presents simultaneous observations made with a radar (SOUSY) and an unmanned aerial system (DataHawk) with the propose of studying the lower troposphere with high resolution. Through the comparison of both measurements, it was possible to compute the radar calibration constant, which will help to obtain calibrated measurements of turbulent parameters of the atmosphere.