5.6 Overview of NCAR Dropsonde Technologies for Various Platforms

Wednesday, 11 June 2014: 4:45 PM
Salon A-B (Denver Marriott Westminster)
Terry Hock, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and D. Lauritsen and N. Potts

The Earth Observing Lab at NCAR has developed new dropsonde systems for very diverse science applications and from unique platforms. This paper will describe the various technologies and the different types of platforms supported from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), manned aircraft and long duration high altitude balloon based systems and the variations of the different types of dropsondes.

There are three new areas of dropsonde technology that have been developed which are; 1) the Driftsonde program, a high altitude long duration balloon based system fully automated dropsonde system, 2) new automatic dropsonde system developed for the NSF/NCAR G-V and NASA's Global Hawk UAS, 3) significant upgrades to the standard manned system allowing for multiple dropsonde to be tracked in the air simultaneously and rapid deployment. All of these systems use the same core technology within the dropsonde, such as the same sensors for pressure, temperature, humidity and winds, software post processing tools but each application has unique operational and interface requirements for the various systems which are both electrical and mechanical. NCAR has developed a core dropsonde technology which allows for new systems to build upon current technologies that have been well proven in field campaigns with flexibility for the incorporation of new sensor technology. This paper will provide an overview of the technologies, system operation modes, data systems and variations of the dropsonde for each platform.

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