P2.1 Probing the Antarctic Atmosphere with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Monday, 2 May 2011
Rooftop Ballroom (15th Floor) (Omni Parker House )
John J. Cassano, CIRES/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and S. L. Knuth

Aerosonde unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were used during September 2009 to observe the atmosphere and ocean / sea ice surface state in the vicinity of the Terra Nova Bay polynya, Antarctica. These flights were the first wintertime UAV flights ever made in the Antarctic, and were also the longest duration UAV flights made to date in the Antarctic, with a maximum flight time of over 17 hours. A total of 130 flight hours were flown during September 2009, with a total of 8 science flights to Terra Nova Bay. The flights took place at the end of the Antarctic winter, in an environment characterized by strong katabatic winds and strong air-sea fluxes. Observations of the ocean / sea ice surface state and boundary layer evolution as the katabatic winds propagated over the Terra Nova Bay polynya will be presented. The advantages of using UAVs for boundary layer observations in remote locations and the logistical challenges of operating UAVs in the Antarctic winter will be presented. Plans for future Antarctic UAV deployments will also be presented.
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