Submitted as: methods for assessment of models 07 Jul 2021

Submitted as: methods for assessment of models | 07 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Verification of Near Surface Wind Patterns in Germany using Clear Air Radar Echoes

Sebastian Buschow and Petra Friederichs Sebastian Buschow and Petra Friederichs
  • Institute of Geosciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Abstract. The verification of high-resolution meteorological models requires highly resolved validation data and appropriate tools of analysis. While much progress has been made in the case of precipitation, wind fields have received less attention, largely due to a lack of spatial measurements. Clear-sky radar echoes could be an unexpected part of the solution by affording us an indirect look at horizontal wind patterns: Regions of horizontal convergence attract non-meteorological scatterers such as insects; their concentration visualizes the structure of the convergence field. Using a two-dimensional wavelet transform, this study demonstrates how divergences and reflectivities can be quantitatively compared in terms of their spatial scale, (horizontal) anisotropy and direction. A long-term validation of the highly resolved regional reanalysis COSMO-REA2 against the German radar composite RADOLAN shows surprisingly close agreement. Despite theoretically predicted problems with simulations in or near the ‘grey-zone’ of turbulence, COSMO-REA2 is shown to produce a realistic diurnal cycle of the spatial scales larger than 8 km. In agreement with the literature, the orientation of the patterns in both data-sets closely follows the mean wind direction. Conversely, an analysis of the horizontal anisotropy reveals that the model has an unrealistic tendency towards highly linear, roll like patterns early in the day.

Sebastian Buschow and Petra Friederichs

Status: open (until 01 Sep 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-128', Astrid Kerkweg, 14 Jul 2021 reply

Sebastian Buschow and Petra Friederichs

Sebastian Buschow and Petra Friederichs


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Short summary
When insects fill the lower kilometers of the atmosphere, they get caught in the convergent parts of the wind field. Their concentration visualizes the otherwise invisible circulation on radar images. This study shows how clear air radar data can be compared to simulated wind fields in terms of scale, anisotropy and direction. Despite known difficulties with simulating these near-surface wind systems, we find decent agreement between a long-term simulation and the German radar composite.