2010

Air-Sea Spray Airborne Radar Profiler Characterizes Energy Fluxes in Hurricanes

A report discusses ASAP (Air-sea Spray Airborne Profiler), a dual-wavelength radar profiler that provides measurement information about the droplet size distribution (DSD) of sea-spray, which can be used to estimate heat and moisture fluxes for hurricane research. Researchers have recently determined that sea spray can have a large effect on the magnitude and distribution of the air-sea energy flux at hurricane-force wind speeds.

To obtain information about the DSD, two parameters of the DSD are required; for example, overall DSD amplitude and DSD mean diameter. This requires two measurements. Two frequencies are used, with a large enough separation that the differential frequency provides size information. One frequency is 94 GHz; the other is 220 GHz. These correspond to the Rayleigh and Mie regions. Above a surface wind speed of 10 m/s, production of sea spray grows exponentially. Both the number of large droplets and the altitude they reach are a function of the surface wind speed.

This work was done by Stephen L. Durden and D. Esteban-Fernandez of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-46537

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