Towards a Validation of Scintillometer Measurements: The LITFASS-2009 Experiment

F. Beyrich, J. Bange, O.K. Hartogensis, S. Raasch, M. Braam, D. van Dinther, D. Gräf, A.J.H. van Kesteren, A.C. van den Kroonenberg, B. Maronga, S. Martin, A.F. Moene

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Scintillometry has been increasingly used over the last decade for the experimental determination of area-averaged turbulent fluxes at a horizontal scale of a few kilometres. Nevertheless, a number of assumptions in the scintillometer data processing and interpretation still call for a thorough evaluation, in particular over heterogeneous terrain. Moreover, a validation of the path-averaged structure parameters derived from scintillometer data (and forming the basis for the flux calculations) by independent measurements is still missing. To achieve this, the LITFASS-2009 field campaign has been performed around the Meteorological Observatory Lindenberg – Richard-Aßmann-Observatory of the German Meteorological Service (DWD) in July 2009. The experiment combined tower-based in-situ turbulence measurements, field-scale laser scintillometers, long-range optical (large-aperture) and microwave scintillometers, and airborne turbulence measurements using an automatically operating unmanned aircraft. The paper describes the project design and strategy, and discusses first results. Daytime near-surface values of the temperature structure parameter, CT2C2T, over different types of farmland differ by more than one order of magnitude in their dependence on the type and status of the vegetation. Considerable spatial variability in CT2C2T was also found along the flight legs at heights between 50 and 100 m. However, it appeared difficult to separate the effects of heterogeneity from the temporal variability of the turbulence fields. Aircraft measurements and scintillometer data agreed in magnitude with respect to the temporal variation of the path-averaged CT2C2T values during the diurnal cycle. The decrease of CT2C2T with height found from the scintillometer measurements close to the surface and at 43 m under daytime convective conditions corresponds to free-convection scaling, whereas the aircraft measurements at 54 and 83 m suggest a different behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-112
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • large-aperture scintillometer
  • heterogeneous land-surface
  • convective boundary-layer
  • sensible heat-flux
  • temperature-humidity correlation
  • structure-function parameters
  • eddy-covariance measurements
  • flevoland field experiment
  • index-structure parameter

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