This project is aimed to characterize the turbulence and the surface boundary layer structure over the area of the Alcântara Launch Center (ALC). Currently all rockets of Brazil and some other nations are launched from ALC. The nearest atmospheric layer from the surface is that that has stronger influence upon rockets' track. In addition, turbulence affects straightforward the rockets' structure, which can take up to a mission failure. The geographic and topographic features around make the ALC a special case from the micrometeorological point of view, as it locates in the Atlantic Ocean seaboard and nearby a cliff about 40 m high. Winds are predominantly from ocean to coast due to the Trades, and are intensified during daytime by the meso-scale circulation of the sea breeze. That wind regime gives rise to a shallow and very turbulent internal boundary layer downstream from the cliff. Thus, the characterization of the surface boundary layer and, particularly, the internal boundary layer is of capital importance. A synergetic combination of observations, numerical modeling, and laboratory essays are then proposed. Field observations will be carried out by means of sonic anemometers and a mini-sodar system (the single one ever in Brazil). Modeling is intended to give a general view of the wind patterns and will make use of the Weather Research & Forecasting model (WRF). Laboratory essays will be conducted in the wind-tunnels of the Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço, in which is available a hot-wire anemometry system, and a very modern and upgraded Particle Image Velocimeter (PIV), with a frame rate of up to 4000 frames per second. The main goals are to understand in more detail the growth of the internal boundary layer and its coupling with the surface processes and the outer layer above. As a byproduct, this project will provide a more detailed diagnostic of the local climatology, especially of the wind profiles up to 200 m.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: