Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 345-357

First online:

On multiple-path sonic anemometer measurement theory

  • A. CuervaAffiliated withRenewable Energy Department, CIEMAT Email author 
  • , A. Sanz-AndrésAffiliated withEscuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Aeronáuticos, Instituto Universitario "Ignacio Da Riva", Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • , J. NavarroAffiliated withRenewable Energy Department, CIEMAT

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In this paper, a model of the measuring process of sonic anemometers with more than one measuring path is presented. The main hypothesis of the work is that the time variation of the turbulent speed field during the sequence of pulses that produces a measure of the wind speed vector affects the measurement. Therefore, the previously considered frozen flow, or instantaneous averaging, condition is relaxed. This time variation, quantified by the mean Mach number of the flow and the time delay between consecutive pulses firings, in combination with both the full geometry of sensors (acoustic path location and orientation) and the incidence angles of the mean with speed vector, give rise to significant errors in the measurement of turbulence which are not considered by models based on the hypothesis of instantaneous line averaging. The additional corrections (relative to the ones proposed by instantaneous line-averaging models) are strongly dependent on the wave number component parallel to the mean wind speed, the time delay between consecutive pulses, the Mach number of the flow, the geometry of the sensor and the incidence angles of mean wind speed vector. Kaimal´s limit k W1=1/l (where k W1 is the wave number component parallel to mean wind speed and l is the path length) for the maximum wave numbers from which the sonic process affects the measurement of turbulence is here generalized as k W1=C l /l, where C l is usually lesser than unity and depends on all the new parameters taken into account by the present model.