Poster Session P7.6 A Meso-Climatology Study of the High-Resolution Tower Network over the Florida Spaceport

Wednesday, 6 October 2004
Jonathan L. Case, ENSCO, Inc., Cocoa Beach, FL; and W. H. Bauman III

Handout (573.1 kB)

Nine years of archived high-resolution tower data across the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), and surrounding locations of east-central Florida have been used to generate a monthly meso-climatology of temperatures and winds at 1.8 m and 16.5 m. Data were analyzed at 33 separate tower locations, four of which are located near launch complexes and have dual sensors at opposite sides of the towers. All 33 towers provide 1.8-m temperature and 16.5-m wind measurements at 5 minute intervals with an average station spacing of 5 km. Nineteen towers also provide 16.5-m temperature readings in conjunction with 1.8-m temperatures in order to measure near-surface stability, which is critical in assessing potential hazardous plumes during launch operations.

The climate of KSC/CCAFS is largely driven by the complex land-water interfaces of the Atlantic Ocean, Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and Banana River. Towers with close proximity to water typically had much warmer nocturnal temperatures and higher wind speeds throughout the year. Up to a 5¢XC difference occurred in the hourly mean 1.8-m temperatures across the network throughout the year, most notable in the pre-dawn hours. The strongest mean nocturnal wind speeds occurred from during October to March when large-scale weather systems drive much of central Florida's weather. Meanwhile, the strongest mean daytime wind speeds occurred from February to May, probably due to a combination of large-scale weather systems and strengthening sea-breeze circulations during this latter portion of the Florida dry season. Coastal and causeway towers had mean wind speeds 1ƒ{2 m s-1 stronger than the overall network mean while mainland towers had mean speeds weaker than the network mean by about the same magnitude. The resulting gradient in the mean wind speed across the network was typically 2.5ƒ{4 m s-1 over a distance of 20ƒ{30 km, with the strongest speeds occurring along the Atlantic coast. This paper will examine many of the meso-climatological features that affect ground and launch operations at KSC and CCAFS.

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