Wind Forecasts Using Large Eddy Simulations for Stratospheric Balloon Applications
Abstract: The launch of large stratospheric balloons is highly dependant on the meteorological conditions at ground level, including wind speed. The balloon launch base Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden currently uses forecasts delivered through the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute to predict opportunities for balloon launches. However the staff at Esrange Space Center experience that the current forecasts are not accurate enough. For that reason the Weather Research and Forecasting model is used to improve the forecast. The model performs a Large Eddy Simulation over the area closest to Esrange Space Center to predict wind speed and turbulence. During twelve hypothetical launch days the improved forecast have an overall accuracy of 93% compared to the old forecast accuracy of 69%. With some improvements and the right computational power the system is thought to be operationally viable.
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