2.3 Radiosoundings during the Great American Eclipse from Multiple United States Locations with Differing Eclipse Magnitudes

Monday, 8 January 2018: 11:00 AM
Salon J (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Chris Vagasky, Vaisala, Inc., Louisville, CO

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is the first total solar eclipse to cross over the contiguous United States since 1979, and the first to cross from coast to coast since 1918. The rarity of this event has understandably attracted a lot of attention. Though the eclipse only had a narrow path of totality, the majority of the continental United States saw eclipse magnitudes of at least 0.6. This gave a unique opportunity for meteorological observations to be collected across the United States in both partial and total eclipse magnitudes.

Previous atmospheric measurements during solar eclipses have shown evidence of gravity waves, eclipse wind circulations, and other phenomena, using a variety of ground based and airborne measurement techniques. Collecting measurements on a continental scale can pose difficulties, one of which being the use of different instruments to measure the same data. This can introduce error resulting from different measurement strategies, sensor technologies, or sensor specifications. To mitigate these errors, use of the same sensors allows for comparisons to be made.

As part of many atmospheric measurements taken during the Great American Eclipse, three Vaisala soundings teams performed upper air measurements using RS41-SG radiosondes. These atmospheric soundings were performed at times prior to, during, and after the solar eclipse from three different locations across the United States with varying eclipse magnitudes – Mack’s Creek Park, Idaho, (MCP; 43.61N, 115.94W; .994 Eclipse Magnitude), Vaisala Boulder (VBOU; 39.97N, 105.12W; .939 Eclipse Magnitude), and Vaisala Woburn (VBOS; 42.51N, 71.15W; 0.7 Eclipse Magnitude). Here we discuss our project, share the results of the soundings completed, and analyze how the differing eclipse magnitudes impacted the measurements.

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