West Castle Alpine Monitoring System

Data Analysis

The following pages form a brief analysis of the data retrieved September 25 2015, from the West Casle Alpine Monitoring System.
This page provides a quick visualization of several meterological variables. Not all variables are plotted on this page, please navigate to 'Data-> Comparison by Variable' located in the above menu bar.

Figure I,II,III: The following graphs depict the incident (positive) and surface reflected (negative) shortwave radiation. The data for Figures I,II,III was collected from the Valley, Mid Mountain, and ridge MET stations (respectively)  over a three day period. As expected, the radiation increases and decreases in 24 hour periods. The large reoccurring deviations in the latter part of the afternoon, in both the Valley and Mid Mountain, are occlusions due to nearby objects obstructing the horizon. This error is seen in the Ridge data as well. The tower on which the sensors a fixed, tends to sway during high winds intermittently obstructing the sensors horizon in the afternoon.

Figure IV: A comparison of the incident and reflected shortwave radiation recorded at Mid Mountain and Valley MET stations from sunrise to sunset.

Figure V: The average wind speed, and maximum wind speed as measured at the geonor precipitation gauge (aprox. 2 m above ground surface) and on top of the tough country tower at an elevation of 1330 m ASL (aprox. 30 m above ground surface). The peak wind speeds tend to correlate with the warming and cooling.

Figure VI,VII: A direction-intensity histogram for wind speed and direction. As expected the Valley experiences winds prevailing from the North as the katabatic winds funnel down the Valley. The mid-mountain wind direction is spread between NW and NNE, from both the katabatic winds gusting from the W and NW, as well as the N and NNE anabatic winds rising from the valley.
NOTE: The ridge station does not collect wind direction data and therefore a wind rose was not generated.

The mid-mountain MET station hosts one “T109” temperature probe* , and one “HMP45AC” temperature and relative  humidity sensor; each at 3m and 6m above the base of the tower, respectively. The valley MET station has a similar configuration. The “HMP45AC” is installed at 9m, and two “T109” probes at 3m and 6m 9m (above the base of tower).  The ridge MET station has only one “T109” at 6m, located adjacent to a single “HMP45AC” mounted above the Amature Radio Station (VE6PAS).
*Thermocouple embedded in epoxy resin manufactured by Campbell Scientific

Due to the elevation and  N-E slope aspect,  the mid-mountain MET station is the first to detect the morning incident solar radiation. This lag is demonstrated in figures I,II,IV, where we see the solar radiation of the Valley station lag behind that of the Mid-mountain station. Incident shortwave solar radiation began to decrease as smoke from the Oregon and Washington wild fires accumulated in the valley. On average, W-NW winds increased by 3 m/s on October 27th. Afternoon gusts increased by an additional 2 m/s in the afternoons of both October 28th and 29th, significantly reducing cloud and smoke cover. This explains the 0 hour lag between the valley and mid mountain station, as well as high amount out thermal energy loss. This rapid propagation of longwave ground surface radiation, forced the smoke to increase in elevation in the late morning. The convective forces of the ground surface energy loss, combined with the W-NW wind gusts, cleared the lower elevation cloud cover, exposing the towers to a hazy sky at approximately the same time (+-15 mins).*
*This was physically observed by the researcher from the mid mountain station.


Energy Balance