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Scintillometry in urban and complex environments: a review

Ward, H. C. (2017) Scintillometry in urban and complex environments: a review. Measurement Science and Technology, 28 (6). 064005. ISSN 1361-6501

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1361-6501/aa5e85

Abstract/Summary

Knowledge of turbulent exchange in complex environments is relevant to a wide range of hydro-meteorological applications. Observations are required to improve understanding and inform model parameterisations but the very nature of complex environments presents challenges for measurements. Scintillometry offers several advantages as a technique for providing spatially-integrated turbulence data (structure parameters and fluxes), particularly in areas that would be impracticable to monitor using eddy covariance, such as across a valley, above a city or over heterogeneous landscapes. Despite much of scintillometry theory assuming flat, homogeneous surfaces and ideal conditions, over the last 20 years scintillometers have been deployed in increasingly complex locations, including urban and mountainous areas. This review draws together fundamental and applied research in complex environments, to assess what has been learnt, summarise the state-of-the-art and identify key areas for future research. Particular attention is given to evidence, or relative lack thereof, of the impact of complex environments on scintillometer data. Practical and theoretical considerations to account for the effects of complexity are discussed, with the aim of developing measurement capability towards more reliable and accurate observations in future. The usefulness of structure parameter measurements (in addition to fluxes, which must be derived using similarity theory) should not be overlooked, particularly when comparing or combining scintillometry with other measurement techniques and model simulations.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:70101
Publisher:IOP Publishing

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