Abstract : F.1
METCRAX 2006 -- First Results from the Meteor Crater Experiment

C. David Whiteman, Sebastian W. Hoch, Maura Hahnenberger, Sharon Zhong
University of Utah, Meteorology Department

A month-long meteorological field experiment was conducted at the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona in October 2006. The circularly symmetrical crater basin, 1.2-km wide and 165-m deep, was formed by a meteor impact 50,000 years ago. This idealized topographic basin provided a near-laboratory setting to study the structure and evolution of the stable boundary layer (SBL) within, above, and in the vicinity of the crater, including the effects of radiative and sensible heat flux divergences and slope flows on the heating and cooling of the crater's atmosphere.

The observational program was supported by in situ and remote sensing equipment from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth Observing Laboratory, and included observations from a radar wind profiler, 7 flux towers, a SODAR, a rawinsonde sounding system, 2 remote acoustic sounding systems, 3 tethered balloon sounding systems, 60 temperature data loggers and a network of long- and short-wave radiation sensors.

The oral presentation will introduce the Meteor Crater, its topographical characteristics, the goals and objectives of the METCRAX meteorological experiments, and the observations. First results from the data analyses will focus on (a) the diurnal cycle of buildup and breakup of the cold-air pool, (b) the effects of ambient winds on boundary layer evolution, (c) the mean and turbulence characteristics of the down-slope and up-slope flows into and out of the crater, and (d) the presence of seiches and gravity waves in the crater atmosphere.