Accessibility navigation

A method for estimating the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate from a vertically pointing Doppler lidar, and independent evaluation from balloon-borne in situ measurements

O'Connor, E. J., Illingworth, A. J., Brooks, I. M., Westbrook, C. D. ORCID:, Hogan, R. J., Davies, F. and Brooks, B. J. (2010) A method for estimating the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate from a vertically pointing Doppler lidar, and independent evaluation from balloon-borne in situ measurements. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27 (10). pp. 1652-1664. ISSN 1520-0426

Text - Published Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/2010JTECHA1455.1


A method of estimating dissipation rates from a vertically pointing Doppler lidar with high temporal and spatial resolution has been evaluated by comparison with independent measurements derived from a balloon-borne sonic anemometer. This method utilizes the variance of the mean Doppler velocity from a number of sequential samples and requires an estimate of the horizontal wind speed. The noise contribution to the variance can be estimated from the observed signal-to-noise ratio and removed where appropriate. The relative size of the noise variance to the observed variance provides a measure of the confidence in the retrieval. Comparison with in situ dissipation rates derived from the balloon-borne sonic anemometer reveal that this particular Doppler lidar is capable of retrieving dissipation rates over a range of at least three orders of magnitude. This method is most suitable for retrieval of dissipation rates within the convective well-mixed boundary layer where the scales of motion that the Doppler lidar probes remain well within the inertial subrange. Caution must be applied when estimating dissipation rates in more quiescent conditions. For the particular Doppler lidar described here, the selection of suitably short integration times will permit this method to be applicable in such situations but at the expense of accuracy in the Doppler velocity estimates. The two case studies presented here suggest that, with profiles every 4 s, reliable estimates of ϵ can be derived to within at least an order of magnitude throughout almost all of the lowest 2 km and, in the convective boundary layer, to within 50%. Increasing the integration time for individual profiles to 30 s can improve the accuracy substantially but potentially confines retrievals to within the convective boundary layer. Therefore, optimization of certain instrument parameters may be required for specific implementations.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:16256
Publisher:American Meteorological Society
Publisher Statement:© Copyright October 2010 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation