Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2013

Abstract

Airborne measurement of the horizontal pressure field using differential GPS technology has been established during the last few years. Accurate aircraft measurement of the horizontal pressure gradient force requires an independent determination of the height of the airborne platform above some reference level. Here the authors demonstrate a differential GPS technique that uses data from a fixed reference station to refine the vertical position of the aircraft. A series of research flight legs by the University of Wyoming King Air research aircraft (UWKA) were conducted during the winter seasons of 2008 and 2009 over the Medicine Bow Mountains in southern Wyoming. Flight patterns consisted of a series of geographically fixed, parallel legs along a quasi-isobaric surface above the mountainous terrain, allowing the finescale mapping of the horizontal pressure (or geopotential height) field. The removal of the large-scale gradient and tendency isolates the terrain-induced pressure perturbation field. Results obtained using differential GPS measurements of aircraft height show that the Medicine Bow Range induces pronounced horizontal pressure perturbations, with a leeside region of low pressure downwind of the crest, in two cases: on 11 February 2008 and 20 February 2009. A wind maximum is found downwind of the elevated terrain consistent with this pressure gradient. Simulations of these two cases were performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). The WRF height patterns for the time of the UWKA flight matched the general isobaric height patterns observed. Simulations and observations consistently show that the cross-mountain acceleration is stronger when the perturbation pressure gradient is larger. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

DOI

10.1175/MWR-D-13-00044.1

Comments

© Copyright 2013 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyrights@ametsoc.org.

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