5A.2 Results from the CLOUD-MAP Field Campaign and Implications for Severe Storm Observations with UAS

Tuesday, 8 November 2016: 8:45 AM
Pavilion Ballroom East (Hilton Portland )
Jamey Jacob, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK; and P. B. Chilson, A. Houston, and S. Smith

The NSF CLOUD-MAP project recently completed their first flight campaign. The campaign, held at locations around Oklahoma State University, resulted in nearly 250 unmanned aircraft flights of 12 separate platforms over a 3 day period, collecting important meteorological, climatological, and operational data. The event brought together over 65 researchers from the 4 partner universities, including faculty, students, and staff. The resulting data will be valuable in increasing our understanding of how unmanned aircraft can be used for regular data gathering of much needed thermodynamic data in the Earth’s atmospheric boundary layer. Though scientists have used large UAVs for high altitude missions, the cost is prohibitive for more widespread study of atmospheric conditions and the vehicles aren’t designed to fly at low altitudes where much of weather interactions occur. This project will save lives and property by improvinng our understanding of the atmosphere and eventually providing weather forecasts with increased accuracy. This presentation will present both atmospheric measurements and operational data from the campaign.

CLOUD-MAP (Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics) is a 4 year, 4 university collaboration to develop capabilities that will allow meteorologists and atmospheric scientists to use unmanned aircraft as a common, useful everyday tool. Currently, we know that systems can be used for meteorological measurements, but they are far from being practical or robust for everyday field diagnostics by the average meteorologist or scientist. In particular, UAS are well suited for the lower atmosphere, namely the lower boundary layer that has a large impact on the atmosphere and where much of the weather phenomena begin. Due to the boundary layer’s proximity to the ground and its transient nature, current technologies have severe limitations in providing detailed measurements: manned aircraft are too dangerous or expensive to fly near the ground; radar cannot see over the horizon and do not measure all of the important thermodynamic parameters forecasters need; and weather balloons have too short of a duration at low altitudes to provide useful information, particular during transient events such as severe storms or fronts. This data will be used to improve our understanding and develop more accurate forecasting models in the near future. Partners include Oklahoma State University, the Univ. of Oklahoma, the Univ. of Kentucky, and the Univ. of Nebraska.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner