Revisiting wind speed measurements using actively heated fiber optics: A wind tunnel study

Justus G.V. van Ramshorst, Miriam Coenders-Gerrits, Bart Schilperoort, Bas J.H. van de Wiel, Jonathan G. Izett, John S. Selker, Chad W. Higgins, Hubert H.G. Savenije, Nick C. van de Giesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Near-surface wind speed is typically only measured by point observations. The actively heated fiber-optic (AHFO) technique, however, has the potential to provide high-resolution distributed observations of wind speeds, allowing for better spatial characterization of fine-scale processes. Before AHFO can be widely used, its performance needs to be tested in a range of settings. In this work, experimental results on this novel observational wind-probing technique are presented. We utilized a controlled wind tunnel setup to assess both the accuracy and the precision of AHFO under a range of operational conditions (wind speed, angles of attack and temperature difference). The technique allows for wind speed characterization with a spatial resolution of 0.3 m on a 1 s timescale. The flow in the wind tunnel was varied in a controlled manner such that the mean wind ranged between 1 and 17 m s-1. The AHFO measurements are compared to sonic anemometer measurements and show a high coefficient of determination (0.92–0.96) for all individual angles, after correcting the AHFO measurements for the angle of attack. Both the precision and accuracy of the AHFO measurements were also greater than 95 % for all conditions. We conclude that AHFO has the potential to measure wind speed, and we present a method to help choose the heating settings of AHFO. AHFO allows for the characterization of spatially varying fields of mean wind. In the future, the technique could potentially be combined with conventional distributed temperature sensing (DTS) for sensible heat flux estimation in micrometeorological and hydrological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5423-5439
Number of pages17
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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