Ames Research Center Meteorological Measurement System (MMS)

Group Members
Lead: T. Paul Bui (650-604-5534)
Stuart W. Bowen
Cecilia Chang (650-604-5510)
Jonathan Dean-Day (650-604-5535)
Leonhard Pfister (650-604-3183)

Group Home Page

Research Objectives
The Meteorological Measurement System (MMS) provides high-resolution and accurate meteorological parameters (pressure, temperature, turbulence index, and the 3-dimensional wind vector). The MMS consists of three major systems: (1) an air motion sensing system to measure the air velocity with respect to the aircraft, (2) an aircraft motion sensing system to measure the aircraft velocity with respect to the earth, and (3) a data acquisition system to sample, process and record the measured quantities.

The MMS is uniquely qualified to investigate atmospheric mesoscale (gravity and mountain lee waves) and microscale (turbulence) phenomena. An accurate characterization of the turbulence phenomenon is important for the understanding of dynamic processes in the atmosphere, such as the behavior of buoyant plumes within cirrus clouds, diffusions of chemical species within wake vortices generated by jet aircraft, and microphysical processes in breaking gravity waves. Accurate temperature and pressure data are needed to evaluate chemical reaction rates as well as to determine accurate mixing ratios. Accurate wind field data establish a detailed relationship with the various constituents and the measured wind also verifies numerical models used to evaluate air mass origin. Since the MMS provides quality information on atmospheric state variables, MMS data have been extensively used by many investigators to process and interpret the in situ experiments aboard the same aircraft.

Research Activities
The MMS team released calibrated data from the January 2006 Costa Rica Aura Validation Experiment (CRAVE). Data are accessible on NASA/ARC Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) Archive server (

The MMS team completed the field measurement campaign for NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplicinary Analyses (NAMMA) at Cape Verde in September 2006. We are now in the process of re-establishing laboratory sensor calibration and will begin the post-flight data processing and calibration.