6.4 Surface Layer Profiling in Complex Terrain using an Instrumented Multi-rotor Copter

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:15 PM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Stephan F. J. De Wekker, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; and C. Woolsey, J. Gonzalez-Rocha, H. McClelland, R. Palomaki, and G. C. Lewin

Small multi-rotor copters are increasingly used in atmospheric boundary layer research. In this presentation, we provide a review of the experience gained with multi-rotor copters in the last few years by groups at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. In addition, we show some first results from using the multi-rotor copter to investigate the local dynamic and thermodynamic structure of the atmospheric surface layer in a small valley during the solar eclipse of 21 August 2017. We are focusing on the results with commercially available fast-responding temperature, humidity, and sonic anemometers mounted on the copter. The copter measurements are also compared with state-of-the-art meteorological instruments installed on a 10-m tower. Soundings made at various ascent rates are compared with soundings from a tethered balloon system, a radiosonde system, and a Doppler Wind lidar. We provide recommendations for profiling strategies in the atmospheric boundary layer with a multi-rotor copter.
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