A sonic anemometer and a gas analyser measuring water vapour and carbon dioxide are co-located within a compound dedicated to measuring fluxes using the eddy covariance method at Chilbolton Observatory. The eddy covariance technique is an atmospheric measurement method used to calculate vertical turbulent fluxes within the atmospheric boundary layer. This is the lowest region of the troposphere and is usually well mixed, particularly during daylight hours, due to convective heating from the sun. It is this motion in the lower troposphere that makes the technique possible. In order to properly measure the turbulent properties of the atmosphere the measurements must be made at a high frequency - 20 Hz for the Chilbolton Observatory system. A sonic anemometer measures the 3 orthogonal components of the wind velocity by measuring the changes in the time of flight of sonic pulses between 3 transmitter/receiver pairs as a result of the air velocity. A gas analyser measures the absorptance of radiation along a fixed path and uses this to determine the concentration of a gas in air. For each gas the absorptance at 2 wavelengths is measured 152 times per second, one affected by that gas and the other unaffected. There are more accurate instruments available for measuring water vapour and carbon dioxide (e.g. a relative humidity sensor for water vapour) but the benefit of the gas analyser is that it has a sufficiently fast response to resolve the rapid changes in concentration as a result of turbulence.
|keywords:||sonic anemometer, Chilbolton|
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|Chilbolton Observatory Facilities|