3.6 Atmospheric Boundary Layer Investigations Using an Instrumented Multi-Rotor Copter

Monday, 11 January 2016: 5:15 PM
Room 350/351 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Stephan F.J. De Wekker, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; and N. Rose and R. Palomaki

Recent advancements in electronics are allowing the development of low-cost unmanned aerial systems for studying atmospheric structure and dynamics. While previous emphasis has been on the development of fixed wing unmanned aircraft for atmospheric investigations, the use of multi-rotor copters is unexplored. The two main objectives of this talk are 1) to demonstrate the potential of a multi-rotor copter in atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) research and 2) to show some first results from using the multi-rotor copter to investigate the local dynamic and thermodynamic structure of the ABL in a small valley. We are developing a quad- and hexacopter with fast-responding temperature and humidity sensors and are investigating various methods to accurately capture winds using the copter. The copter measurements are compared with state-of-the-art meteorological instruments installed on a 10-m tower. We show initial results from the copter measurements made during the morning and evening transition in a valley and the subsequent development of local thermally driven flows.
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