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CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENTS
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Atmospheric Winds


Measurements of atmospheric winds are of primary importance to weather forecasting, and as a variable in the study of global climate change. Upper air wind speed and direction is a basic element of the climate system that influences many other variables.
Detailed MeasurementDescription*InstrumentsTimeline
Oil spill coverFraction of an ocean area polluted by hydrocarbons release from ships, accidental or deliberate. Impacting on ocean-atmosphere exchanges. Requested in both open ocean and coastal zone - Physical unit: [ % ] - Accuracy unit: [ % ].10 instruments
TurbulenceRandom and continuously changing air motions which are superposed on the mean motion of the air. [Unit of measurement – classes]1 instrument
Wind profile (horizontal)Vertical profile of the horizontal vector component (2D) of the 3D wind vector - Requested from surface to TOA (layers: LT, HT, LS, HS&M) - Physical unit: [ m/s ] - Accuracy unit: [ m/s ] intended as vector error, i.e. the module of the vector difference between the observed vector and the true vector.17 instruments
Wind profile (vertical)A series of wind direction and wind speed measurements taken at various levels in the atmosphere that show the wind structure of the atmosphere over a specific location.2 instruments
Wind speed over land surface (horizontal)The rate at which air is moving horizontally past a given point. It may be a 2-minute average speed (reported as wind speed) or an instantaneous speed (reported as a peak wind speed, wind gust, or squall). Conventionally measured at 10 m height. [Unit of measurement - m/s]1 instrument
Wind vector over land surface (horizontal)The wind vector represents the motion of the airmass over the ground. It is described by wind speed and the inverse of wind direction. Conventionally measured at 10 m height.Accuracy is the modulus of the vector difference between measured and true vectors. [Unit ofmeasurement - m/s]4 instruments
* Description adapted from WMO.
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