Applied Technologies, Inc. (ATI)

Sonic temperature significance and limitations

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The ATI sonic thermometer measures temperature from transit times t1 and t2 measured along the vertical path of the anemometer's probe. They are the times taken by sound pulses to traverse the 15-cm acoustic path in opposite directions; (these same transit times are used also for computing the vertical wind component).

The instrument exploits the strong dependence that exists between the speed of sound in air and temperature, expressed usually in the form. Where c is the velocity of sound (m s -1) in air, T is the temperature (K), and e and p are respectively the vapor pressure of water in air and absolute pressure. The humidity effect on the measured sonic temperature, Ts [= T(1 + 0.32 e/p)], resembles very closely the virtual temperature Tv defined by meteorologists as the temperature at which dry air has the same density as moist air at the same pressure.

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