Validation of wind measurements of two mesosphere–stratosphere–troposphere radars in northern Sweden and in Antarctica

Belova, Evgenia; Voelger, Peter; Kirkwood, Sheila; Hagelin, Susanna; Lindskog, Magnus; Körnich, Heiner; Chatterjee, Sourav; Satheesan, Karathazhiyath

Two atmospheric VHF radars: ESRAD (Esrange MST radar) located near Kiruna in the Swedish Arctic and MARA (Moveable Atmospheric Radar for Antarctica) at the Indian research station Maitri in Antarctica perform wind measurements in the troposphere and lower stratosphere on a regular basis. We compared horizontal winds at altitudes between about 0.5 and 14 km derived from the radar data using the full correlation analysis (FCA) technique with radiosonde observations and models. The comparison with 28 radiosondes launched from January 2017 to August 2019 showed that ESRAD underestimates the zonal and meridional winds by about 8 % and 25 %, respectively. This is likely caused by the receiver group arrangement used for the FCA together with a high level of non-white noise. A similar result was found when comparing with the regional numerical weather prediction model HARMONIE-AROME (Bengtsson et al., 2017) for the period September 2018–May 2019. The MARA winds were compared with winds from radiosondes for the period February–October 2014 (291 occasions). In contrast to ESRAD, there is no indication that MARA underestimates the winds compared to the sondes. The mean difference between the radar and radiosonde winds is close to zero for both zonal and meridional components. The comparison of MARA with the ECMWF ERA5 reanalysis for January–December 2019 reveals good agreement with the mean difference between 0.1 and inline-formula−0.5 m/s depending on the component and season. The random errors in the wind components (standard deviations over all estimates in 1 h averages) are typically 2–3 m/s for both radars. Standard deviation of the differences between radars and sondes are 3–5 m/s.

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Belova, Evgenia / Voelger, Peter / Kirkwood, Sheila / et al: Validation of wind measurements of two mesosphere–stratosphere–troposphere radars in northern Sweden and in Antarctica. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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