29 Investigating local-scale flows in a valley using an instrumented multi-rotor copter

Monday, 18 August 2014
Aviary Ballroom (Catamaran Resort Hotel)
Stephan F. J. De Wekker, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; and D. Chestnut, G. Lewin, I. Deboisblanc, N. Dodbele, L. Kussmann, R. Mukherji, and S. Phelps

Recent advancements in electronics are allowing the development of low-cost unmanned aerial systems for studying atmospheric structure and dynamics. While previous emphasis has been on the development of fixed wing unmanned aircraft for atmospheric investigations, the use of multi-rotor copters is unexplored. The two main objectives of this poster are 1) to demonstrate the potential of a multi-rotor copter in atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) research and 2) to show some first results from using the multi-rotor copter to investigate the local dynamic and thermodynamic structure of the nocturnal ABL in a small valley. We are developing a hexacopter with fast-responding temperature and humidity sensors and are investigating various methods to accurately capture winds using the copter. The copter measurements are compared with state-of-the-art meteorological instruments installed on a 10-m tower and an instrumented tethered balloon. We plan to show initial results from the copter measurements made during the the evolution of a nocturnal boundary layer in a valley and the subsequent development of local downslope and downvalley flows.
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