Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing: Principles and Applications, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing

Principles and Applications, 1st Edition

By Stuart Bradley

CRC Press

296 pages | 15 Color Illus. | 185 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2007-12-26
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Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) systems and Radio Acoustic Sounding Systems (RASS) use sound waves to determine wind speed, wind direction, and turbulent character of the atmosphere. They are increasingly used for environmental and scientific applications such as analyzing ground-level pollution dispersion and monitoring conditions affecting wind energy generation. However, until now there have been no reliable references on SODAR and RASS for practitioners in the field as well as non-experts who wish to understand and implement this technology to their own applications.

Authored by an internationally known expert in the design and use of SODAR/RASS technology, Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing: Principles and Applications systematically explains the underlying science, principles, and operational aspects of acoustic radars. Abundant diagrams and figures, including eight pages of full-color images, enhance clear guidelines and tools for handling calibration, error, equipment, hardware, sampling, and data analysis. The final chapter explores applications in environmental research, boundary layer research, wind power and loading, complex terrain, and sound speed profiles.

Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing offers SODAR and RASS users as well as general remote sensing practitioners, environmental scientists, and engineers a straightforward guide for using SODARs to perform wind measurements and data analysis for scientific, environmental, or alternative monitoring applications.


". . . Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing is a welcome contribution to the field of acoustic remote sensing."

– Gilles A. Daigle, National Research Council of Canada, in Physics Today, Dec 2008

Table of Contents

What Is Atmospheric Acoustic Remote Sensing?

Direct Measurements and Remote Measurements

How Can Measurements Be Made Remotely?

Passive and Active Remote Sensing

Some History

Why Use Acoustics?

Direct Sound Propagation from a Source to a Receiver

Acoustic Targets

Creating Our Own Target

Modern Acoustic Remote Sensing


Where to, from Here?

The Atmosphere Near the Ground

Temperature Profiles Near the Surface

Wind Profiles Near the Surface

Richardson Number

The Prandtl Number

The Structure of Turbulence

Monin-Oboukhov Length

Similarity Relationships

Profiles of  and

Probability Distribution of Wind Speeds

Sound in the Atmosphere

Basics of Sound Waves

Frequency Spectra

Background and System Noise

Reflection and Refraction


Doppler Shift



Sound Propagation Horizontally

Sound Transmission and Reception

Geometric Objective of SODAR Design

Speakers, Horns, and Antennas

Monostatic and Bistatic SODAR Systems

Doppler Shift from Monostatic and Bistatic SODARs

Beam Width Effects on Doppler Shift

Continuous and Pulsed Systems

Geometry of Scattering

The Acoustic Radar Equation

Acoustic Baffles

Frequency-Dependent Form of the Acoustic Radar Equation

Obtaining Wind Vectors

Multiple Frequencies

Pulse Coding Methods

SODAR Systems and Signal Quality

Transducer and Antenna Combinations

SODAR Timing

Basic Hardware Units

Data Availability

Loss of Signal in Noise


SODAR Signal Analysis

Signal Acquisition

Detecting Signals in Noise

Consistency Methods

Turbulent Intensities

Peak Detection Methods of AeroVironment and Metek

Robust Estimation of Doppler Shift from SODAR Spectra

Averaging to Improve SNR

Spatial and Temporal Separation of Sampling Volumes

Sources of Measurement Error

A Model for SODAR Response to a Prescribed Atmosphere

RASS Systems

RADAR Fundamentals

Reflection of RADAR Signals from Sound Waves

Estimation of Measured Height

Deduction of Temperature

Wind Measurements

Turbulent Measurements

RASS Designs




Review of Selected Applications

Environmental Research

Boundary Layer Research

Wind Power and Loading

Complex Terrain

Sound Speed Profiles


Appendix 1: Mathematical Background

Appendix 2: Sample Data Sets and Matlab Code

Appendix 3: Available Systems

Appendix 4: Acoustic Travel Time Tomography

Appendix 5: Installation of a SODAR or RASS


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Geophysics
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Systems