Wind turbulence estimates in a valley by coherent Doppler lidar

Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Ronald Calhoun, Brian Billings, James Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this paper, the effect of several turbulence parameters during various flow conditions in Owens Valley, educed from coherent Doppler lidar data have been studied. Radial velocity structure functions are processed to estimate the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate, integral length scale and velocity variance, assuming a theoretical model for isotropic wind fields. Corrections for turbulence measurements have been considered to address the complications due to inherent volumetric averaging of radial velocity over each range gate, noise of the lidar data, and the assumptions required to estimate effects of smaller scales of motion on turbulence quantities. Using data from the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) in April-May 2006, vertical profiles of wind and turbulence parameters have been retrieved. During T-REX, unusual valley flows were detected by the lidar data, for example on 19 and 27 March 2006, daytime down-valley and night time up-valley flows, respectively, were observed. This paper focuses on understanding various turbulence parameters during these flow events. Turbulence estimates during daytime down-valley conditions were observed to be constant for most of the day, while for night time up-valley circumstances the turbulence increased steadily as the day progressed. Good comparison was observed between lidar and tower measurements, which validate the lidar turbulence retrieval assumptions. Comparison between TKE estimates from lidar and the Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) model is also presented. This analysis will be helpful for improving the current turbulence parameterization schemes in COAMPS. Finally, differences and similarities in turbulence measurements between both the flow regimes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-371
Number of pages11
JournalMeteorological Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Dissipation rate
  • Doppler lidar
  • Owens Valley
  • Structure function
  • TKE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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