Virtual towers using coherent doppler lidar during the Joint Urban 2003 dispersion experiment

Ronald Calhoun, R. Heap, M. Princevac, R. Newsom, H. Fernando, D. Ligon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


During the Joint Urban 2003 (JU2003) atmospheric field experiment in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, of July 2003, lidar teams from Arizona State University and the Army Research Laboratory collaborated to perform intersecting range-height indicator scans. Because a single lidar measures radial winds, that is, the dot product of the wind vector with a unit vector pointing along the lidar beam, the data from two lidars viewing from different directions can be combined to produce horizontal velocity vectors. Analysis programs were written to retrieve horizontal velocity vectors for a series of eight vertical profiles to the southwest (approximately upwind) of the downtown urban core. This technique has the following unique characteristics that make it well suited for urban meteorology studies: 1) continuous vertical profiles from far above the building heights to down into the street canyons can be measured and 2) the profiles can extend to very near the ground without a loss of accuracy (assuming clear lines of site). The period of time analyzed spans from 1400 to 1730 UTC (0900-1230 local time) on 9 July 2003. Both shear and convective heating are important during the development of the boundary layer over this period of time. Differences in 10- and 20-min mean profiles show the effect of the variation of position approaching the urban core; for example, several hundred meters above the ground, velocity magnitudes for profiles separated by less than a kilometer may differ by over 1 m s-1. The effect of the increased roughness associated with the central business district can be seen as a deceleration of the velocity and a turning of the wind direction as the flow approaches the core, up to approximately 10° for some profiles. This effect is evident below 400-500 m both in the wind directions and magnitudes. Recommendations are given for how this type of data can be used in a comparison with model data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1116-1126
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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