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ASOS/AWOS Peak Wind The highest instantaneous wind speed observed or recorded since the last scheduled hourly observation (METAR) On ASOS, Peak Wind is determined ...
  • Automated Surface Observing System
  • Automated Weather Observing System
  • 3 Early Versions
  • AMOS and RAMOS systems deployed in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Measured only temperature, dewpoint, wind speed and direction, and pressure
  • Sky condition and visibility became available as separate systems under AUTOB
  • 4 ASOS Objective
  • Provides basic weather observations at airports and other designated locations in an automated fashion
  • Human observers may augment observations
  • 5 Data QC
  • Three levels of QC for ASOS data
  • Level 1 is performed on-site, in real-time before an observations is transmitted
  • Level 2 is performed at a WFO for a designated area, about the size of a state, usually within 2 hours after the scheduled observation transmission time
  • Level 3 is performed centrally on all ASOS METARs nationwide, usually about 2 hours after the scheduled transmission time
  • 6 Level 1
  • Built into each ASOS are automated self-diagnostics and QC algorithms, operating on the raw data
  • Prevent questionable data from being included in the OMO or the transmitted METAR/SPECI
  • If ASOS detects an error, the relevant data are excluded from report processing and a Maintenance Check Indicator () is appended to the METAR/SPECI report
  • 7 Level 2
  • WFO personnel routinely monitor and assess the availability and meteorological quality of long-line transmitted METARs and SPECIs from all ASOS locations in their CWA
  • The goal at this level is to correct a problem or prevent any additional erroneous data from being transmitted
  • 8 Level 3
  • National QC operations are centered at the ASOS Operations and Monitoring Center (AOMC)
  • Perform vital functions, such as downloading critical operational information to the ASOS, keeping accurate clock synchronization, and maintaining data for system reinitialization, such as field elevation, magnetic declination, phone numbers, etc
  • 9 System Components
  • Sensor group(s), consisting of individual weather sensors and a Data Collection Package (DCP)
  • The Acquisition Control Unit (ACU)
  • The Operator Interface Device (OID)
  • 10 Sensor Groups
  • Ceilometer, Cloud Height Indicator CHI Sensor (one to three sensors per site)
  • Visibility Sensor (one to three sensors per site)
  • Precipitation Identification (PI) Sensor
  • Freezing Rain (ZR) Sensor (not planned to be included where ZR potential is nil)
  • Lightning Sensor (only at selected sites)
  • Pressure Sensors (two sensors at small airports three sensors at larger airports) ?? Ambient/Dew Point Temperature Sensor ?? Anemometer (wind direction and speed sensor) ?? Precipitation Accumulation Sensor (Heated Tipping Bucket HTB Gauge)
  • 11 Sensor Groups
  • Ambient/Dew Point Temperature Sensor
  • Anemometer (wind direction and speed sensor)
  • Precipitation Accumulation Sensor (Heated Tipping Bucket HTB Gauge or OTT gauge where winter weather conditions may occur)
  • 12 Data Collection Package (DCP)
  • A DCP is located with each sensor group
  • It continually gathers and processes raw data from the adjacent sensors (e.g., voltages, extinction coefficients, data counts) and conditions these data before transmission to the ACU
  • 13 Acquisition Control Unit (ACU)
  • The central data processing unit for the ASOS
  • Performs final processing, formatting, quality control, storage and retrieval of the data, and makes ASOS data available to users through various outlets
  • 14 Operator Interface Device (OID)
  • Primary means through which an on-site observer enters back-up or augmentation observations into the ASOS METAR/ SPECI report
  • 15 Measurements of Temperature/RH
  • Hygrothermometer HO-83
  • Uses a platinum wire Resistive Temperature Device (RTD) to measure ambient temperature
  • Uses a chilled mirror to determine dew point temperature
  • 16 Hygrothermometer 17 Hygrothermometer Range/Error Parameter Range Max Error Resolution Ambient Temp -80F to -58F 3.6F 0.1F -58F to 122F 1.8F 0.1F 122F to 130F 3.6F 0.1F Dewpoint Temp -80F to -0.4F 4.5F to 13.9F 0.1F -0.4F to 32F 3.4F to 13.9F 0.1F 32F to 86F 2.0F to 7.9F 0.1F
  • The low end of the Max Error range is for a DD of 0F the
  • high end of the Error range is for a DD of 63
  • 18 Hygrothermometer
  • Takes measurements _____ times a minute
  • Data is averaged to produce an report every minute
  • Further averaging is done over 5 minutes updating every minute, rounded to the nearest degree Fahrenheit and converted to the nearest 0.1 degree Celsius
  • 19 Temperature/Dewpoint Reporting
  • Once each minute, ASOS uses the running 5-minute average ambient temperature to update the hourly maximum and minimum ambient temperatures
  • 20 Temperature/Dewpoint Reporting
  • At synoptic hour (00, 06, 12, and 18 UTC) reporting times, the current 6-hour max and min ambient temperatures are computed from the hourly max and min ambient temperatures to 0.1 degrees Celsius, and included as remarks in the current synoptic hourly METAR.
  • 21 Temperature/Dewpoint Reporting
  • Once each hour (at the hourly METAR report time) the current hourly ambient temperature and dew point temperature are reported in the METAR Remarks section, to the nearest tenth of a degree Celsius
  • 22 Temperature/Dewpoint Reporting
  • Once each minute, ASOS computes the highest and lowest ambient temperatures, so far for the current cal- endar day, in tenths of degrees Celsius. The calendar day maximum and minimum ambient temperatures are reported in the midnight, LST hourly METAR remarks
  • 23 Temperature/Dewpoint Reporting
  • Once each day (at 2359 LST), the highest and lowest ambient temperatures for the current month, along with the date(s) of occurrence, are computed and stored in memory until the end of the following month. On the first day of the following month, ASOS outputs the Monthly Maximum Temperature and date(s) of occurrence, plus the Monthly Minimum Temperature and date(s) of occurrence
  • 24 Wind Measurements
  • Originally deployed a Belfort 3-cup anemometer and wind vane
  • Began complete replacement of all Belfort 3-cups with Vaisala heated sonic anemometer
  • Also known as the IFW (______ ______ _____ ) sensor
  • 25 Wind Measurement Range/Error Wind Speed Wind Direction Range 0-165 knots 0-360 degrees Resolution 0.1 knots 1 Accuracy 0.26 knots or 3 of reading, whichever is greater 2 26 Wind Observations
  • Observations of speed and direction are taken once a second
  • Five second averages of speed and direction are computed and rounded to the nearest degree and nearest knot
  • Every 5 seconds a running 2-minute avg wind (dir and speed) is computed. If the computed 2-minute average wind speed is 2 knots or less, the 2-minute average wind direction and speed is reported as calm
  • 27 Wind Direction Reporting
  • ASOS reports a 2-minute average of 5-second average wind directions once a minute (i.e., 24 samples each minute) for distribution through the OMO
  • The direction from which the wind is blowing is reported to the nearest 10 degree increment (e.g., 274 degrees is reported as 270 degrees)
  • 28 Wind Direction Reporting
  • Wind direction is reported relative to true north in the METAR/SPECI message, in the daily/monthly summaries, and on all video displays
  • Wind direction is re- ported relative to magnetic north in the computer-generated voice messages, and on the OID AUX data display screen
  • 29 Wind Gust Reporting
  • ASOS compares the highest gust stored in memory for the past 10 minutes with the current 2-minute average wind speed. If the difference between the two is 3 knots or more, the current reported wind speed is greater than 2 knots, and the highest gust exceeds the minimum 5-second wind speed in the past 10 minutes by 10 knots or more, then the highest gust stored in memory is designated as the reportable gust.
  • 30 Wind Gust Reporting
  • The minimum gust speed reported by ASOS is 14 knots
  • 31 Variable Wind
  • A variable wind is reported when the wind direction varies by 60 degrees or more during the 2-minute evaluation period before the observation
  • 32 Squalls
  • What is a squall?
  • If the current 2-minute wind speed (measured every five seconds) is greater than or equal to 22 knots and exceeds the 2-minute average wind speed computed two minutes ago by 16-knots or more, then the highest 5-second average wind speed during the last 2-minutes is reported as a squall
  • 33 Wind Shifts
  • A wind shift is indicated by a change in wind direction of 45 degrees or more in less than 15 minutes with sustained winds of 10 knots or more throughout the wind shift
  • 34 Peak Wind
  • The highest instantaneous wind speed observed or recorded since the last scheduled hourly observation (METAR)
  • On ASOS, Peak Wind is determined from the highest observed 5-second average wind speed which exceeds 25 knots since the last generated METAR
  • 35 Pressure
  • Atmospheric pressure is the most important surface weather element for aircraft operations since it provides the means of establishing the height of an aircraft above the surface
  • Because accurate pressure is critical, three separate and independent pressure sensors are used at towered airport locations
  • At other locations, two pressure sensors are used
  • 36 Reported Pressure Elements
  • Altimeter Setting
  • Pressure Remarks
  • Sea-Level Pressure
  • Density Altitude
  • Pressure Altitude
  • Pressure Change/Tendency
  • Station Pressure
  • 37 Pressure Sensor
  • The ASOS pressure measurement instrument consists of redundant digital pressure transducers, which use capacitive sensors, one side of which is permanently evacuated to a vacuum to make it a barometric pressure sensor
  • This is an ______ type barometer
  • 38 Pressure Sensor Characteristics
  • Range 16.9 - 31.5 inches of mercury
  • Accuracy 0.02 inches of mercury
  • Resolution 0.003 inches of mercury (measurement) 0.005 inches of mercury (reporting)
  • 39 Pressure Sensor Reporting
  • The algorithm routinely computes and updates the pressure report for each pressure sensor once a minute from readings obtained every 10 seconds from each sensor
  • The current 1-minute pressure values from each sensor are then com- pared against each other and absolute differences computed
  • 40 Pressure Sensor Reporting
  • The lowest 1-minute sensor pressure value obtained from a pair of sensors, whose pressure difference is 0.04 inch or less, is the designated ASOS pressure to be reported
  • This pressure value is then used to compute an altimeter setting and other derived pressure values
  • The pressure sensors are the most reliable and accurate sensor in ASOS
  • 41 Precipitation Measurements
  • Basic manual measurements of precipitation accumulation in the U.S. have traditionally relied on the Standard 8-inch gauge
  • Frozen precipitation are periodically melted indoors to measure the ______ - ______ of ______ ________ (LEFP).
  • 42 Precipitation Measurement
  • Originally used strictly a _______ _______ _______ (HTB) gauge
  • Early versions of the heated gauge applied excessive heat creating excessive evaporation and the under-reporting of the liquid-equivalent mass
  • The current version of the HTB gauge applies less heat over a longer heating cycle, thus yielding a more accurate mass measurement of frozen precipitation
  • 43 Precipitation Measurement
  • For stations where LEFP is measured, the HTB gauge has been replaced/supplemented with that _______ _______ ________ ________ _______ (AWPAG) OTT
  • 44 HTB Gauge
  • Consists of 6 components
  • A wind shield that surrounds the HTB and protects it against blowing snow from falling into the HTB col- lector funnel (the wind shield is installed on the ASOS HTB in climates where the snowfall is gt 20 of the annual precipitation accumulation
  • 45 HTB Gauge
  • A 12-inch diameter collector funnel
  • A pivoting dual chamber tipping bucket
  • An electronic switch which counts the number of tips per minute
  • A drain pan and a drain tube
  • Heating elements to prevent freeze-up during cold weather
  • 46 HTB Range/Errors
  • Range of 0 to 10.00 inches per hour
  • Resolution of 0.01 inch
  • Accuracy of 0.02 inch or 4 of the hourly total (whichever is greater)
  • 47 Precipitation Algorithm
  • The precipitation accumulation algorithm obtains precipitation accumulation data from the HTB precipitation gauge once each minute
  • Each minute the measured rainfall is adjusted using the following equation
  • Amounts are output in 1, 3, 6 and 12 hour METAR reports
  • 48 HTB Strengths/Weaknesses
  • One weakness involves high rainfall rate events when the tipping bucket cannot keep up with the water flow and under-reports the accumulation
  • During freezing conditions, the application of heat to melt snow and prevent gauge icing also induces evaporation or sublimation, especially during light freezing rain or snow events at temperatures near 32F
  • 49 HTB Strengths/Weaknesses
  • False tips may be caused by dew, frost, or heavy fog
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