KITsonde: Modular Multi-Sensor Dropsonde for High Resolution Measurements

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 2:00 PM
Georgia Ballroom 3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Andreas Wieser, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, , Germany; and U. Corsmeier, C. Kottmeier, and T. Feuerle

Vertical profiles of in situ measurements especially in sensitive regions, remote areas and over large water surfaces are of great value for the analysis of meteorological processes, model initialization and validation and for the calibration of remote sensing instruments. Apart from dolphin type flight pattern only dropsondes can provide such measurements. Additionally dropsondes deliver measurement data from the inside of mesoscale systems where remote sensing instruments fail and aircraft cannot penetrate.

Initially developed for HALO (High Altitude and Long Range research aircraft) the new modular multi-sensor dropsonde “KITsonde” is now available. It is designed for maximum flexibility, high-resolution measurements and easy integration of new sensor developments. KITsonde integrates into research aircraft without major modifications since it is compatible to the widely used AVAPS launching systems, uses 19” rack units and can even share antennas.

In contrast to existing dropsonde systems we separated the rigid housing from the sensors and developed a multipurpose release container and new very small meteorological sensors. The release container protects its payload during dropping from aircraft. After deceleration the release container opens and sensors can either stay coupled to the container or descend using individual parachutes. Since the payload is only exposed after deceleration large parachutes can be used for high vertical resolution measurements and new probe developments can be integrated with minimum effort.

At the actual state KITsonde can be used as single sensor sonde in areas with horizontally homogeneous atmospheric parameters using direct telemetry to the aircraft or for targeted observations configured with an iridium satellite modem which makes the sounding data available via internet within seconds for model assimilation purposes and mission coordination during large field campaigns - even when launched in remote locations. For high resolution measurements in a very small inhomogeneous area like a convective cloud up to four meteorological sensors can be launched at the same time as a multi sensor sonde. A maximum of 30 simultaneously active sondes is possible.

The new dropsonde system will be presented including low approach launches showing the mode of operation of the release container, climate chamber reference measurements as well as intercomparisons with radiosondes and airborne in-situ measurements made with the Dornier 128 research aircraft D-IBUF of the Technical University of Braunschweig.