3B.3 Severe Local Storm Environmental Observations from UAS

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 2:00 PM
Conference Center: Chelan 4 (Washington State Convention Center )
Steven E. Koch, NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK; and B. Argrow, P. B. Chilson, M. Fengler, E. N. Rasmussen, D. D. Turner, R. Huck, A. L'Afflitto, and J. Salazar

We discuss a new project whose objective is to test and evaluate combinations of fixed-wing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS at fixed points for providing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with a new mobile, strategic observing capability for the boundary layer in rapidly evolving severe local storm environments.  The project entails making frequent profiling measurements to 2,500 ft AGL at fixed sites by two different VTOL systems and concurrently measuring horizontal gradients in atmospheric thermodynamic and wind fields between the sites from a fixed wing UAS.  We will show results from UAS sensor calibration/validation analyses compared to data from instrumented towers and ground-based remote sensing systems at the Department of Energy Southern Great Plains Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) mobile remote-sensing system, Collaborative Lower Atmospheric Mobile Profiling System (CLAMPS), positioned at Oklahoma Mesonet sites.  The remote sensing systems include: Doppler wind lidar, microwave radiometer, and infrared interferometer profiling systems.  We will also report on sophisticated adaptive control-based autopilot and differential GPS locating systems, whose development is directed to the need of assuring excellent location and stability control of the UAS in spite of strong wind conditions.  In the spring of 2017, the UAS data will be transmitted to National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters in real-time for the purpose of evaluation in NWS operations related to issuance of severe storm watches and warnings.
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