The Arctic region is warming more quickly than any other region due to climate change and Arctic sea ice is declining to record lows. Sparsity of atmospheric data from the Arctic leads to uncertainty in process comprehension. Atmospheric general circulation models (AGCM) are used to improve understanding of processes in the Arctic but often contain biases leading to unrealistic atmospheric states in the Arctic. It is suspected that improvements in AGCMs combined with in situ cloud and meteorological measurements will improve process understanding and help AGCMs better characterize the Arctic.
SNL is developing a tethered balloon system capable of regular operation at AMF3 in order to provide increased vertical resolution atmospheric data. The tethered balloon can be operated within clouds at altitudes up to 7,000' AGL within DOE's R-2204 restricted area. Pressure, relative humidity, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction are recorded at multiple altitudes along the tether. These data were validated against stationary met tower data in Albuquerque, NM. The altitudes of the sensors were determined by GPS and calculated using a line counter and clinometer and compared. Wireless wetness sensors and supercooled liquid water content sensors have also been deployed and their data has been compared with other sensors.
This presentation will provide an overview of the balloons, sensors, and test flights flown, and will provide a preliminary look at data from sensor validation campaigns and test flights.