3.1 A Novel Use of Multirotor sUAS to Sample Severe Convective Storms during the C3LOUD-Ex Field Campaign

Monday, 8 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Sean W. Freeman, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and J. Bukowski, S. M. Hitchcock, L. D. Grant, P. J. Marinescu, and S. C. van den Heever

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) enable continuous sampling of the boundary layer and allow for measurements of the environments surrounding severe storms above the surface, an advantage over traditional surface station networks. One such application of sUAS is to obtain above ground measurements characterizing the properties of thunderstorm inflow air and cold pool buoyancy, both of which may influence the probability of tornadogenesis in severe convective storms. Calibration, validation, instrument placement, and deployment strategies of these novel sUAS platforms are critical to ensuring accurate measurements that can be used to characterize environments suitable for tornadogenesis. The development of these measurements and their utility in the field are the focus of this study. A network of instrumented multirotor sUAS was employed, along with co-located radiosonde launches and surface stations, to sample above-ground and near-surface thunderstorm inflow and cold pools during the C3LOUD-Ex field campaign in northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, and southwestern Nebraska during July 2016 and May-June 2017. To calibrate and characterize the instruments, repeated test flights were performed, which included hovering the sUAS near an instrumented meteorological surface station with an attached radiosonde. In this presentation, an evaluation of the pressure, humidity, and temperature sensor will be discussed, including placement testing of the sensor in different locations on the sUAS. The development of our sUAS measurements and deployment strategy has resulted in a valuable dataset of storm environments and cold pools, which will be used to improve our understanding of the dynamics of convective storms and environments favorable for tornadogenesis.
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