NY-Ålesund TurbulencE Fiber-Optic eXperiment (NYTEFOX)

Field experiment to investigate the heterogeneity of air transport and exchange in temperatures, wind, and turbulent kinetic energy using innovative Fiber-Optic Distributed Sensing (FODS) within the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) at the AWIPEV supersite.

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Project type

  • field work
  • modelling
  • sios


  • atmosphere

Project Keywords

  • atmosphere / atmospheric temperature / temperature profiles
  • atmosphere / atmospheric winds / boundary layer winds
  • atmosphere / atmospheric winds / turbulence
  • atmosphere / atmospheric temperature / atmospheric stability

Fieldwork information

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Turbulence is an important process linking the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere by transporting heat, momentum, and matter within and across the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), whose state is most critical for life on Earth. The ABL around Ny-Ålesund is impacted by the presence of land and sea, as well subject to channeling effects and katabatic airflows induced by orography and glaciers. The existing operational observations at this supersite make it an ideal Arctic ABL observatory. However, there is a lack in techniques addressing and resolving the heterogeneity of the land, ice, and sea surfaces with the goal of quantifying their impact on ABL dynamics, understanding, and forecast. NYTEFOX will be the first field experiment to investigate this heterogeneity of air transport and exchange in temperatures, wind, and kinetic energy using innovative Fiber-Optic Distributed Sensing. The scientific goals are summarized as follows: 1. Investigate the spatiotemporal variability of stable ABL motions and dynamics to shed light on their poorly understood physical mechanisms maintaining turbulence in stable stratification (inversions) during the polar winter. 2. Conduct a process study for the AWIPEV Arctic supersite by tracking individual atmospheric turbulent and submeso motions over several hundreds of meters. 3. Compare its observations with the outcome of an ICON LES (ICOsahedral Nonhydrostatic Large Eddy Simulation) at matching resolution thus enabling a direct model evaluation for the first time. 4. Serve as a pilot study and proof-of-concept project for a future multi-national multi-institutional collaborative ABL experiment in Ny Alesund anticipated for 2022. The NYTEFOX measurement setup will consist of a horizontally oriented triangle-shaped array with approximately 200 to 300 m long sides featuring fiber-optic cables at 1 m height above ground. The FODS instruments will be located in the AWI balloon house (11.91811°E, 78.92310°N), where the measurement starts. The fiber-optic cable will continue to the first corner point which lies near to the meteorological tower on the BSRN field (11.92641°E, 78.92213°N), then to the second corner located at the AWI eddy covariance (EC) tower (11.91416°E, 78.92142°N), and finally to the third corner located at the coordinates 11.91811°E, 78.92310°N. Additionally, vertical fiber-optic profiles of air temperature over 10 m height will be observed at all corners of the horizontal array. At the AWI EC station, we will also install a coil-wrapped fiber-optic column of two meters height for vertical temperature observations with an effective resolution of 3 mm. The horizontal and vertical measurements will include a pair of two fiber-optic cables: one resistively heated along the entire length and one unheated with the goal of obtaining wind speed measurements in addition to those of air temperature. We will cross the streets and paths with the help of cable bridges to avoid entanglements and trip hazards. Ancillary to FODS, we will have sonic anemometers at different heights at the corners of the triangle to measure wind speed and wind direction @ 20 Hz. For the connection to the upper ABL we will temporarily install a mini-SODAR (SOund Detection And Ranging) at the AWI EC site to measure wind speed and direction up to 300 m altitude at 5 m resolution. This wind profile will complement the existing AWI wind LIDAR (LIght-Detection-And-Ranging) system installed on the observatory roof whose profile observations start at 150 m above ground only. Accordingly, we can measure wind speed and direction from near the surface up to several 100 m agl, which can not be achieved by a single instrument making this a unique study. We plan the setup to be accomplished within 10 days (10.02.2020- 20.02.2020). Continuous measurements will be collected until the takedown on 14.03.2020, with subsequent packing and shipping of the equipment.

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