The Effect of a New Calibration Procedure on the Measurement Accuracy of Scintec's Displaced-Beam Laser Scintillometer

A.J.H. van Kesteren, O.K. Hartogensis, A.C. van den Kroonenberg

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5 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a new calibration procedure included in the production process of Scintec’s displaced-beam laser scintillometers (SLS-20/40) and its effect on their measurement accuracy. The calibration procedure determines the factual displacement distances of the laser beams at the receiver and transmitter units, instead of assuming a prescribed displacement distance of 2.70 mm. For this study, four scintillometers operated by Wageningen University and the German Meteorological Service were calibrated by Scintec and their data re-analyzed. The results show that significant discrepancies may exist between the factual and the prescribed displacement distances. Generally, the factual displacement is about 0.1 mm smaller than 2.70 mm, but extremes varied between 0.04 and 0.24 mm. Correspondingly, using non-calibrated scintillometers may result in biases as large as 20 % in the estimates of the inner-scale length, l0, the structure parameter of the refractive index, Cn2, and the friction velocity, u*. The bias in the sensible heat flux was negligible, because biases in Cn2 and u* cancel. Hence, the discrepancies explain much of the long observed underestimations of u * determined by these scintillometers. Furthermore, the calibration improves the mutual agreement between the scintillometers for l 0 , but especially for Cn2. Finally, it is noted that the measurement specifications of the scintillometer do not expire and hence the results of the calibration can be applied retroactively
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-271
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • atmospheric surface-layer
  • stable boundary-layer
  • optical scintillation
  • inner scale
  • structure parameter
  • flux measurements
  • refractive-index
  • sensible heat
  • turbulence
  • spectrum

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