The accuracy of winds derived by the radar tracking of chaff at high altitudes.

by R. Robert Rapp


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A discussion of the accuracy and significance of wind measurements made by radar tracking of high-altitude chaff in the vicinity of Johnston Island, July-August 1958. The manner in which the chaff responds to changes in the wind is deduced from the observed rates of fall. The standard error of the wind determination caused by random errors of tracking is estimated statistically. It is shown that day-to-day variations of the wind at a level are detectable with this type of measurement, but that day-to-day variations of the shear are masked by instrumental error. The mean shear over the three-day period, however, is found to be real and may be caused by a change in wind regime associated with the temperature minimum near 80 km.

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