Effects of precipitation on sonic anemometer measurements of turbulent fluxes in the atmospheric surface layer

Rongwang Zhang, Jian Huang, Xin Wang, Jun A. Zhang, Fei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Effects caused by precipitation on the measurements of three-dimensional sonic anemometer are analyzed based on a field observational experiment conducted in Maoming, Guangdong Province, China. Obvious fluctuations induced by precipitation are observed for the outputs of sonic anemometer-derived temperature and wind velocity components. A technique of turbulence spectra and cospectra normalized in the framework of similarity theory is utilized to validate the measured variables and calculated fluxes. It is found that the sensitivity of sonic anemometer-derived temperature to precipitation is significant, compared with that of the wind velocity components. The spectra of wind velocity and cospectra of momentum flux resemble the standard universal shape with the slopes of the spectra and cospectra at the inertial subrange, following the −2/3 and −4/3 power law, respectively, even under the condition of heavy rain. Contaminated by precipitation, however, the spectra of temperature and cospectra of sensible heat flux do not exhibit a universal shape and have obvious frequency loss at the inertial subrange. From the physical structure and working principle of sonic anemometer, a possible explanation is proposed to describe this difference, which is found to be related to the variations of precipitation particles. Corrections for errors of sonic anemometer-derived temperature under precipitation is needed, which is still under exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ocean University of China
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • precipitation
  • sonic anemometer
  • spectra
  • turbulent flux
  • virtual temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering


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