Original paper

A sodar for profiling in a spatially inhomogeneous urban environment

Bradley, Stuart; Barlow, Janet; Lally, John; Halois, Christoforos

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 24 No. 6 (2015), p. 615 - 624

15 references

published: Nov 5, 2015
published online: Nov 5, 2015
manuscript accepted: Jul 29, 2015
manuscript revision received: Jul 29, 2015
manuscript revision requested: May 28, 2015
manuscript received: Nov 5, 2014

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2015/0657

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The urban boundary layer, above the canopy, is still poorly understood. One of the challenges is obtaining data by sampling more than a few meters above the rooftops, given the spatial and temporal inhomogeneities in both horizontal and vertical. Sodars are generally useful tools for ground-based remote sensing of winds and turbulence, but rely on horizontal homogeneity (as do lidars) in building up 3-component wind vectors from sampling three or more spatially separated volumes. The time taken for sound to travel to a typical range of 200 m and back is also a limitation. A sodar of radically different design is investigated, aimed at addressing these problems. It has a single vertical transmitted sound pulse. Doppler shifted signals are received from a number of volumes around the periphery of the transmitted beam with microphones which each having tight angular sensitivity at zenith angles slightly off-vertical. The spatial spread of sampled volumes is therefore smaller. By having more receiver microphones than a conventional sodar, the effect of smaller zenith angle is offset. More rapid profiling is also possible with a single vertical transmitted beam, instead of the usual multiple beams.A prototype design is described, together with initial field measurements. It is found that the beam forming using a single dish antenna and the drift of the sound pulse downwind both give rise to reduced performance compared with expectations. It is concluded that, while the new sodar works in principle, the compromises arising in the design mean that the expected advantages have not been realized


Sodar accuracyDoppler errorwind driftacoustic dish antennaurban wind measurement