OU BLISS Team Completes Research in Portugal

OU BLISS Team Completes Research in Portugal

Several months ago, we published a story about School of Meteorology researchers embarking on  an international field deployment to study flow over complex terrain as part of the Perdigao Project. You can read that article here: http://meteorology.ou.edu/ou-bliss-team-begins-research-portugal/.
The campaign ended successfully, with the final members of the OU team leaving Portugal in the latter part of June. Altogether, OU BLISS (http://weather.ou.edu/~oubliss/) researchers lived in Alvaiade, Vila Velha de Rodão, Portugal for nearly 3 months, from mid-April to mid-June. Professor Petra Klein led the BLISS group, which includes School of Meteorology instrumentation technician, Matt Carney and graduate students Tyler Bell, Josh Gebauer, and Elizabeth Smith. The opportunity for international deployment allowed the researchers to not only work toward scientific goals but to also experience a new culture. The village of Alvaiade was quite welcoming to the project scientists, sharing their cuisine, music, and festivals. BLISS researchers all recalled to us the delicious food and drink they enjoyed during their stay in Portugal, including the mountain fresh spring water that ran continuously in town. They said the pure water was so very refreshing after a hot day in the field working on instruments! The language barrier did sometimes make communication tough, but the kind Portuguese locals were always sure to greet the scientists with a cheerful “Bom Dia!” each morning and share fresh citrus from their personal trees.
Ph.D. student Elizabeth Smith speaks to a group of visitors.
Now that the field deployment is over, the team has turned their attention to analyzing the months’ worth of data collected during the project. School of Meteorology Masters student, Tyler Bell is leading that effort, using the OU-NSSL CLAMPS data to investigate interesting flow and stability patterns in a valley. The analysis is in only its earliest stages, but the continued work will become the basis for Tyler’s thesis. So far, Tyler has seen some very interesting flow patterns using cross sections from the OU-NSSL CLAMPS Doppler lidar scans both along and across the valley. (See the animation below)
Sadly, the region of Portugal that Perdigao is in has been badly affected by wildfire this year. The first fires began before the project was over, with several casualties in the region. Since the project ended, even more fires have scorched the countryside. The village of Alvaiade was not spared. Fires destroyed the landscape up to the edge of the building the OU team called home. The team was heartbroken to see images of the place they so fondly recall damaged by fire. The team remains in contact with the friends they made in the region and hopes to offer support in the future as the citizens try to recover.
The Perdigao Project is an international effort to study the physics of wind flow, with the goal of helping communities harness renewable wind energy. Read more about the international effort here: https://eos.org/project-updates/monitoring-wind-in-portugals-mountains-down-to-microscales