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Title: Vertical structure of the lower troposphere derived from MU radar, unmanned aerial vehicle, and balloon measurements during ShUREX 2015
Authors: Luce, Hubert
Kantha, Lakshmi
Hashiguchi, Hiroyuki  kyouindb  KAKEN_id  orcid (unconfirmed)
Lawrence, Dale
Mixa, Tyler
Yabuki, Masanori  kyouindb  KAKEN_id
Tsuda, Toshitaka
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2018
Publisher: Springer Nature
Journal title: Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
Volume: 5
Thesis number: 29
Abstract: The ShUREX (Shigaraki UAV Radar Experiment) 2015 campaign carried out at the Shigaraki Middle and Upper atmosphere (MU) observatory (Japan) in June 2015 provided a unique opportunity to compare vertical profiles of atmospheric parameters estimated from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), balloon, and radar data in the lower troposphere. The present work is intended primarily as a demonstration of the potential offered by combination of these three instruments for studying the small-scale structure and dynamics in the lower troposphere. Here, we focus on data collected almost simultaneously by two instrumented UAVs and two meteorological balloons, near the MU radar operated continuously during the campaign. The UAVs flew along helical ascending and descending paths at a nearly constant horizontal distance from the radar (~ 1.0 km), while the balloons launched from the MU radar site drifted up to ~ 3–5 km in the altitude range of comparisons (~ 0.5 to 4.0 km) due to wind advection. Vertical profiles of squared Brünt-Väisälä frequency N² and squared vertical gradient of generalized potential refractive index M² were estimated at a vertical resolution of 20 m from pressure, temperature, and humidity data collected by UAVs and radiosondes. Profiles of M² were also estimated from MU radar echo power at vertical incidence at a vertical sampling of 20 m and various time resolutions (1–4 min). The balloons and the MU radar provided vertical profiles of wind and wind shear S so that two independent estimates of the gradient Richardson number (Ri = N²/S²) could be obtained at a range resolution of 150 m. The two estimates of Ri profiles also showed remarkable agreement at all altitudes. We show that all three instruments detected the same prominent temperature and humidity gradients, down to decameter scales in stratified conditions. These gradients extended horizontally over a few kilometers at least and persisted for hours without significant changes, indicating that the turbulent diffusion was weak. Large discrepancies between N² and M² profiles derived from the balloon, UAV, and radar data were found in a turbulent layer generated by a Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) shear flow instability in the height range from 1.80 to 2.15 km. The cause of these discrepancies appears to depend on the stage of the KH billows.
Rights: © The Author(s). 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
DOI(Published Version): 10.1186/s40645-018-0187-4
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