Considerations for atmospheric measurements with small unmanned aircraft systems

Jamey D. Jacob, Phillip B. Chilson, Adam L. Houston, Suzanne Weaver Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper discusses results of the CLOUD-MAP(Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics) project dedicated to developing, fielding, and evaluating integrated small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for enhanced atmospheric physics measurements. The project team includes atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, engineers, computer scientists, geographers, and chemists necessary to evaluate the needs and develop the advanced sensing and imaging, robust autonomous navigation, enhanced data communication, and data management capabilities required to use sUAS in atmospheric physics. Annual integrated evaluation of the systems in coordinated field tests are being used to validate sensor performance while integrated into various sUAS platforms. This paper focuses on aspects related to atmospheric sampling of thermodynamic parameters with sUAS, specifically sensor integration and calibration/validation, particularly as it relates to boundary layer profiling. Validation of sensor output is performed by comparing measurements with known values, including instrumented towers, radiosondes, and other validated sUAS platforms. Experiments to determine the impact of sensor location and vehicle operation have been performed, with sensor aspiration a major factor. Measurements are robust provided that instrument packages are properly mounted in locations that provide adequate air flow and proper solar shielding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
JournalAtmosphere
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 5 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1539070, Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics to Oklahoma State University and the Universities of Oklahoma, Nebraska-Lincoln and Kentucky.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the helpful comments of the reviewers and the contributions of the senior investigators (Sean Bailey, Girish Chowdhary, Christopher Crick, Carrick Detweiller, Brian Elbing, Amy Frazier, Marcelo Guzman, Jesse Hoagg, Elinor Martin, Lisa Pytlick-Zillig, Jessica Ruyle, Michael Sama, and Matthew Van Den Broeke), SeanWaugh from NSSL, Michael Ritsche from the DOE ARM SGP, Timothy VanReken from NSF, and all of the staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students who have participated in the project. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1539070, Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics to Oklahoma State University and the Universities of Oklahoma, Nebraska-Lincoln and Kentucky.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Atmospheric boundary layer
  • Meteorological observation
  • Unmanned aircraft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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