92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:15 PM
Overview of NCAR Dropsonde Technologies for Various Applications
Room 239 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Terry Hock, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and D. Lauritsen, C. Martin, N. Potts, and C. Bradley

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. Each of these new launch platforms have special operations requirements along with unique engineering requirements for the 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 NOAA to fly on NASA's Global Hawk UAS, 3) significant upgrades to the standard manned system allowing for eight dropsonde to be tracked in the air simultaneously for rapid deployment of dropsondes. 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. This paper will provide an overview of the technologies, system operation modes, data systems and variations of the dropsondes for each platform.

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