The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: Modeling bulk atmospheric motion

Thomas W. Morris, Ricardo Bustos, Erminia Calabrese, Steve K. Choi, Adriaan J. Duivenvoorden, Jo Dunkley, Rolando Dünner, Patricio A. Gallardo, Matthew Hasselfield, Adam D. Hincks, Tony Mroczkowski, Sigurd Naess, Michael D. Niemack, Lyman Page, Bruce Partridge, Maria Salatino, Suzanne Staggs, Jesse Treu, Edward J. Wollack, Zhilei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Fluctuating atmospheric emission is a dominant source of noise for ground-based millimeter-wave observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature anisotropy at angular scales 0.5°. We present a model of the atmosphere as a discrete set of emissive turbulent layers that move with respect to the observer with a horizontal wind velocity. After introducing a statistic derived from the time-lag dependent correlation function for detector pairs in an array, referred to as the pair-lag, we use this model to estimate the aggregate angular motion of the atmosphere derived from time-ordered data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT). We find that estimates derived from ACT's CMB observations alone agree with those derived from satellite weather data that additionally include a height-dependent horizontal wind velocity and water vapor density. We also explore the dependence of the measured atmospheric noise spectrum on the relative angle between the wind velocity and the telescope scan direction. In particular, we find that varying the scan velocity changes the noise spectrum in a predictable way. Computing the pair-lag statistic opens up new avenues for understanding how atmospheric fluctuations impact measurements of the CMB anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042004
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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