All Weather News

Going Where the Wind Takes It

19 Mar 2019, 5:23 am

[Optical Engineer Aboubakar Traore looks over the Doppler Aerosol Wind Lidar (DAWN) before it travels from Hampton, Virginia, to Palmdale, California. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman]

[NASA]  Developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the Doppler Aerosol Wind Lidar (DAWN) uses laser pulses to take highly accurate measurements of vector wind speed and direction. In the upcoming campaign, which will be based out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, scientists will use DAWN to validate measurements from Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus (ADM-Aeolus), a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite that profiles wind speeds across the globe.

ADM-Aeolus launched in August 2018. Aeolus is the first satellite mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale. These near-realtime observations will improve the accuracy of numerical weather and climate prediction and advance our understanding of tropical dynamics and processes relevant to climate variability.

[Electronics technician Anna Noe makes final checks to the Doppler Aerosol Wind Lidar (DAWN) before it begins a cross-country road trip for use in an upcoming airborne science campaign. Noe is pictured here from the underside of the instrument looking through the exit optical window. From NASA]

Researchers believe data from the satellite will help improve the accuracy of weather forecasts. Validation flights aboard Armstrong’s DC-8 flying laboratory begin April 15. Langley scientist Michael Kavaya is the principal investigator for DAWN. Langley atmospheric scientist Kristopher Bedka is the mission lead for the flight campaign.

Edited for WeatherNation by Meteorologist Mace Michaels