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Old 06-06-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
martins
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Default Global wind models

I am currently experimenting with wind - the stuff that tends to blow aircraft off course and turns landings into hit and miss affairs. I don't want to implement this as just random vector fields, but give it at least a semblance of a plausible global field distribution. Therefore, I am looking for reasonable (and reasonably simple) global wind models. For example, mean vector field distributions as a function of
  • latitude
  • altitude
  • season

For a refinement, possibly also
  • longitude
  • time of day

In addition to the means, possibly also standard deviations on different time scales and "typical" variations (distribution and temporal development of high/low pressure regions and resulting wind patterns).

Does anybody have a suggestion? I came across this paper, which has some useful information to start with. Although digitising the plots would be a pain. Vector field data in electronic format would help a lot. Also the graphs are slightly puzzling me. The vector fields appear to have a strong east/west orientation, with hardly any north-south component. I though the convection towards the equator at low altitudes (and flow away from the equator at high altitudes) was a major component of the global wind pattern. Is the magnitude of this effect so much smaller than the east-west component?

Apart from the global average effects, some models of small scale effects will also be needed. (turbulence, gusts, etc.) What are the (spatial and temporal) correlation lengths, i.e. how rapidly can the vectors change over time and space?

Are there any public-domain global wind algorithms around? What do other flight simulators use?
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
Urwumpe
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What about making the winds of a planet part of a DLL? Then you just need to care about the interface to Orbiter and how it suits you best for performance, and let other people look for accurate wind models.

I only know of wind maps, but I am sure there are also CSV tables with such data. Anybody knowing a climate scientist to ask?
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:20 PM   #3
martins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urwumpe View Post
 What about making the winds of a planet part of a DLL? Then you just need to care about the interface to Orbiter and how it suits you best for performance, and let other people look for accurate wind models.
Good idea. But even so, I'd like to try my hand on at least a simplistic model rather than just wait for somebody else to do it.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:28 PM   #4
Urwumpe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martins View Post
 Good idea. But even so, I'd like to try my hand on at least a simplistic model rather than just wait for somebody else to do it.
Well, you are right, there should be some initial capability in the release.

I have found this paper, but it only covers the oceans and has no data sets, but it gives a few good hints on where to ask questions.

http://w3k.gkss.de/ksd/Publications/Horstmann_et_al.pdf

Ah, there, better... maybe the conditions of use are limiting.

http://data-portal.ecmwf.int/data/d/demeter_mnth/1950/

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I would say, this is not in favor of Orbiter, but then, it could be still negotiable.

Last edited by Urwumpe; 06-06-2011 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Included TOU
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:24 PM   #5
Zatnikitelman
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I'm not sure how much it helps, but the data generated in the U.S. by our weather models is pretty much public domain. Though mostly concerned with models showing specific forecasts for the short-term rather than overall patterns, you might could try starting at NOAA's model analysis page: http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/

There are also several colleges here that do atmospheric research and may have some data that's useful. Now I'm not sure if they have restrictions on their use of data however, but here's some of the big ones:
University of Alabama, Huntsville: http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/atmos/index.html
Plymouth State University: http://vortex.plymouth.edu/
Penn State University: http://www.met.psu.edu/
And the University of Oklahoma which has on-campus our National Severe Storms Laboratory, and The National Weather Center (different from the National Weather Service), and while primarily focused on severe weather, might have some useful information: http://ags.ou.edu/
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:50 PM   #6
Wishbone
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I have been looking at GRAM recently, which is the model for Martian atmosphere, including winds. Before that, was experimenting with GRIB 2.0 format. The problem is different players will have widely different fidelity requirements. Hence, the interface should be as generic as possible. There should be choice between altitude and pressure level. Time of day can be expressed as elevation of the central star (if you are not planning to relax the constraint on the number of stars in a system), and season as the angle of the planetary body off the equinox (how do you define seasons for Titan, I wonder?)
And yes, the fewer constraints your reference implementation imposes the better for modders. Orbiter engine IMHO should not constrain the storage model for wind/weather data. Extra components may be required in the future (vorticity, shear etc.).

Just my 2 pennies.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:55 PM   #7
kevin580
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Hmm...I love this idea, sounds good

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Just my 2 pennies.
I think you mean "Just my ".
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:07 PM   #8
Wishbone
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That was 2 cents or eurocents... I could go with kopecks, y'know. Back on topic: a reference implementation could use 2D FFT internally for northward and eastward (or whatever Martin's handedness convention dictates ) wind components separately, on a very rough grid.

Two Earthly phenomena should be given some consideration: jet streams and tropospheric storms, with some customization/override from within scenarios (sci-fi writers don't like to be forced to use historical weather).
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:12 PM   #9
Urwumpe
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I would recommend having the wind models in the atmosphere models and both models be modular... so people could produce generic wind model modules later that can be used for fictional star systems.
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #10
Wishbone
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BTW, you can kill me, but please consider negative elevations, in case of launches from nearby the Caspian Sea or Valles Marineris.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #11
martins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wishbone View Post
 I have been looking at GRAM recently, which is the model for Martian atmosphere, including winds. Before that, was experimenting with GRIB 2.0 format. The problem is different players will have widely different fidelity requirements. Hence, the interface should be as generic as possible. There should be choice between altitude and pressure level. Time of day can be expressed as elevation of the central star (if you are not planning to relax the constraint on the number of stars in a system), and season as the angle of the planetary body off the equinox (how do you define seasons for Titan, I wonder?)
And yes, the fewer constraints your reference implementation imposes the better for modders. Orbiter engine IMHO should not constrain the storage model for wind/weather data. Extra components may be required in the future (vorticity, shear etc.).
Actually, for the module interface I would wash my hands of all these complications and pass them off to the module implementor. The interface will simply query the velocity vector for a given location and time
Code:
VECTOR3 Celbody::WindVelocity (time, longitude, latitude, altitude)
How the vector was arrived at is irrelevant to orbiter, so calculating the relevant parameters like solar angle, equivalent pressure etc. is all up to the module; the interface won't impose any constraints at all.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:44 PM   #12
Moach
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my, this is really something!

if i might throw in a quick thought while we're on the subject - what about adding a turbulence parameter to be defined in the same fashion as winds?

a CELBODY module would only need to supply a callback to define a general scalar for "turbulenceness" (and maybe a couple of frequency parameters) at a given lat/lon/alt sampling point...


then this value could be factored in as noise for the wind force... quick and simple (i hope)


just an idea... either way, the CELBODY implementation could account for turbulence and "noise it in" on its own, i guess...
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:56 PM   #13
N_Molson
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While it is of little use because I only remember the big lines of it, I read a book 1 year ago that was intitled "Planetary Atmospheres".

There was a study of each known planetary atmosphere, including the gas giants, and the idea was that the model was roughly the same everywhere (east/west alternating stripes of wind).

The axial tilt was a very important factor, with the difference of temperature between the day and night sides.

Therese Encrenaz - Atmosphères Planétaires, origine et évolution

I don't know if it's available in english, though.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:15 PM   #14
Donamy
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could this involve moving cloud patterns ?
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:20 PM   #15
Robsoie
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Interesting.
If a wind model makes it into Orbiter, flying in Neptune will take a completely different level of crazy
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