Near-surface wind speed is typically only measured by point observations. The so-called Actively Heated Fiber-Optic (AHFO) technique, however, has the potential to provide high-resolution distributed observations, allowing for better understanding of different processes. However, before it can be widely used, its performance needs to be tested in a range of settings. Therefore, in this work, experimental results on this novel observational wind-probing technique are presented. We utilized a controlled wind-tunnel setup to assess both the accuracy and the precision of AHFO as well as its potential for outdoor atmospheric operation. The technique allows for wind speed characterization with a spatial resolution of 0.3 m on a 1 s time scale. The flow in the wind tunnel is varied in a controlled manner, such that the mean wind, ranges between 1 and 17 m/s. Comparison of the AHFO measurements with observations from a sonic anemometer shows a high overall correlation, ranging from 0.94-0.99. Also, both precision and accuracy are greater than 95 %. As such, it is concluded that the AHFO has potential to be employed as an outdoor observational technique in addition to existing techniques. In particular, it allows for characterization of spatial varying fields of mean wind in complex terrain, such as in canopy flows or in sloping terrain. In the future the technique could be combined with regular Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) for turbulent heat flux estimation in micrometeorological/hydrological applications.
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