Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Technology May Help Olympic Sailing: Doppler Lidar More Accurately Shows Which Way the Wind Blows

02.07.2008
A team of researchers at the Ocean University of China has developed and tested a mobile lidar (light detection and ranging) station that can accurately measure wind speed and direction over large areas in real time -- an application useful for aviation safety, weather forecasting and sports.

As described in the July 1 issue of the journal Optics Letters, published by the Optical Society, the mobile lidar station can measure wind fields more accurately, which could help world-class athletes compete in international competitions, such as the Olympics. Ocean University is in Qingdao, which is hosting the sailing competitions of the XXIX Olympic Games and the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, and this technique is being tested in conjunction with the event.

"Wind is non-uniform even in a small sailing field," says Professor Zhi-Shen Liu of the Key Laboratory of Ocean Remote Sensing, Ministry of Education of China, Ocean University of China, who led the research. "Athletes could maximize their performances if they have the most accurate information to help them capture the wind."

In Olympic sailing, individual competitors or teams of athletes sail various classes of sailboats in timed trials over a single course. The contest requires them to navigate upwind, downwind and everything in between. Their final time depends on numerous factors, including the boat design, the skill of the sailors, course difficulty and ocean currents. Perhaps the most important factor, though, is how well the athletes can harness the wind that fills their sails.

Because wind constantly changes speed and direction, athletes and coaches hope to have the best information at the start of a run. On cloudy, rainy days, the standard meteorological tool of Doppler radar can accurately provide wind field information. When no clouds are present, however, Doppler radar is ineffective. The best wind data on clear days comes from ocean buoys and land stations that use wind cups and ultrasonic anemometers to measure wind speed.

In the Qingdao sailing area, where this summer's competitions will take place, only four buoys, one boat and one tower are available to measure sea surface winds within a competition area of approximately 10 square kilometers.

Liu and his lidar group, composed of research scientists and graduate students, have been working with an optical remote sensing technology called Doppler lidar, which they are applying for weather and environmental research. Lidar works by scattering laser beams off atmospheric aerosols or molecules. Doppler lidar takes advantage of the fact that when these aerosols or molecules are moving in the wind, the scattered laser light changes frequency -- the same way an approaching car has a higher pitched sound than a car driving away.

The advantage of Doppler lidar, says Liu, is that it can quickly sample a large area, providing a much finer map of winds than buoys alone. He and his group have developed a lidar bus, which can move equipment to the experiment field conveniently.

Last year, they successfully tested their new bus at the 2007 Qingdao International Regatta sailing event. They moved the bus to the seashore near the sailing field, and made a horizontal scan over the sea surface, making the measurement in real time and then uploading the data to the local meteorological station every 10 minutes. They envision a similar effort in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games.

The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Key Laboratory of Ocean Remote Sensing, the Ministry of Education of China and the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

Paper: "A high spatial and temporal resolution mobile incoherent Doppler lidar for sea surface wind measurements" by Zhi-Shen Liu et al., Optics Letters, Vol. 33, No. 13, July 1, 2008 p. 1485-1487. For a copy of the paper, please contact Angela Stark, astark@osa.org or 202.416.1443.

About OSA
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics.

Angela Stark | newswise
Further information:
http://www.osa.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>