CORRELATING SURFACE TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS WITH ATMOSPHERIC FLOW

Alexia Savas – Research on Capitol Hill 2021

(Mentor: Marc Calaf)

This project explores the analysis of data collected during the 2019 Idealized Planar Array experiment for Quantifying Spatial heterogeneity (IPAQS) aimed at better understanding surface heterogeneity and its influence on atmospheric flow. The deployment of IPAQS, which ran between June and July, provided an array of sensors capturing fast-response wind speeds, air, surface, and surface temperatures at multiple locations throughout the desert playa at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground. The field deployment consisted of 30 measurement stations covering a 1- km grid. The surface energy balance problem is difficult to close due to a number of reasons, including instrument measurement error, soil heat flux measurements, and horizontal advection (atmospheric heat transfer) arising from persistent, slow moving eddies in the flow not captured through typical measurement techniques. This leads to the theory that energy left unaccounted for during the heat transfer process arising from persistent air temperature structures in the flow. It is collectively hypothesized that these structures occur due to large temperature patches at the surface. Being able to observe and compare temperature fluctuations in time and space is vital to understanding the connection of wind speed and surface temperatures in order to improve current data collection methods. For this project, autocorrelation and cross-correlation calculations are computed between surface temperature measurements and air temperature measurements. This allows for the observation of similarities or disparities between surface and air temperature fluctuations at different sensor locations. Preliminary results show a distinct frequency throughout the afternoon period in which air temperature fluctuations lag surface fluctuations. Preliminary results also present a promising correlation of this surface and air fluctuation correlation pattern with the wind velocity during a distinct period in the afternoon.  This project analysis is ongoing and is set to be completed by the end of the Fall 2020 semester.

House Representative: Carol Spackman Moss
Senate Representative: Jani Iwamoto