1.3 The Geographical Distribution of Downburst Frequency Across Spaceport Florida

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 16AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Tania M. Garza, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH; and O. A. Nava and W. P. Roeder

Strong winds from downbursts pose a significant hazard to personnel and launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). While the frequency of downbursts in that area is well known, the frequency at individual locations is not known. Downbursts observed at 28 weather towers in and around CCAFS/KSC from 1994-2012 will be analyzed to determine the frequency of downbursts at those locations. The frequency of lightning varies by a factor of nearly three across CCAFS/KSC and a similar range of variation in frequency of downbursts is expected. The frequency of downbursts at individual locations can be combined with the known distribution of wind speeds when downbursts occur for a tool to provide the likelihood of exceeding any desired wind speed from downbursts at any location on CCAFS/KSC. This tool would then be used in mission planning and facility design. Other aspects of this study will be confirming that the distribution of wind speeds from downbursts is consistent throughout the area even as the frequency of occurrence varies, and how the frequency of occurrence varies by month, flow regime, diurnally, and other factors.

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