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Airborne Doppler Wind Lidar Observations of the Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer

Hurricane Research Division, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Simpson Weather Associates, Charlottesville, VA 22920, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 825;
Received: 16 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Conditions for Wind Energy Applications)
PDF [9436 KB, uploaded 25 May 2018]


This study presents a verification and an analysis of wind profile data collected during Tropical Storm Erika (2015) by a Doppler Wind Lidar (DWL) instrument aboard a P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). DWL-measured winds are compared to those from nearly collocated GPS dropsondes, and show good agreement in terms of both the wind magnitude and asymmetric distribution of the wind field. A comparison of the DWL-measured wind speeds versus dropsonde-measured wind speeds yields a reasonably good correlation (r2 = 0.95), with a root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.58 m s−1 and a bias of −0.023 m s−1. Our analysis shows that the DWL complements the existing P3 Doppler radar, in that it collects wind data in rain-free and low-rain regions where Doppler radar is limited for wind observations. The DWL observations also complement dropsonde measurements by significantly enlarging the sampling size and spatial coverage of the boundary layer winds. An analysis of the DWL wind data shows that the boundary layer of Erika was much deeper than that of a typical hurricane-strength storm. Streamline and vorticity analyses based on DWL wind observations explain why Erika maintained intensity in a sheared environment. This study suggests that DWL wind data are valuable for real-time intensity forecasts, basic understanding of the boundary layer structure and dynamics, and offshore wind energy applications under tropical cyclone conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical cyclones; Doppler Wind Lidar; atmospheric boundary layer; wind structure tropical cyclones; Doppler Wind Lidar; atmospheric boundary layer; wind structure

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhang, J.A.; Atlas, R.; Emmitt, G.D.; Bucci, L.; Ryan, K. Airborne Doppler Wind Lidar Observations of the Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 825.

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