Next Article in Journal
Observed and Projected Precipitation Changes over the Nine US Climate Regions
Next Article in Special Issue
New Setup of the UAS ALADINA for Measuring Boundary Layer Properties, Atmospheric Particles and Solar Radiation
Previous Article in Journal
On the Redox Activity of Urban Aerosol Particles: Implications for Size Distribution and Relationships with Organic Aerosol Components
Previous Article in Special Issue
Data Analysis of the TK-1G Sounding Rocket Installed with a Satellite Navigation System
Open AccessPerspective

Unmanned Aerial Systems for Monitoring Trace Tropospheric Gases

Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2017, 8(10), 206;
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Measurements with Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS))
The emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has changed the composition of the atmosphere during the Anthropocene. Accurately documenting the sources and magnitude of GHGs emission is an important undertaking for discriminating the contributions of different processes to radiative forcing. Currently there is no mobile platform that is able to quantify trace gases at altitudes <100 m above ground level that can achieve spatiotemporal resolution on the order of meters and seconds. Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) can be deployed on-site in minutes and can support the payloads necessary to quantify trace gases. Therefore, current efforts combine the use of UASs available on the civilian market with inexpensively designed analytical systems for monitoring atmospheric trace gases. In this context, this perspective introduces the most relevant classes of UASs available and evaluates their suitability to operate three kinds of detectors for atmospheric trace gases. The three subsets of UASs discussed are: (1) micro aerial vehicles (MAVs); (2) vertical take-off and landing (VTOL); and, (3) low-altitude short endurance (LASE) systems. The trace gas detectors evaluated are first the vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL), which is an infrared laser-absorption technique; second two types of metal-oxide semiconductor sensors; and, third a modified catalytic type sensor. UASs with wingspans under 3 m that can carry up to 5 kg a few hundred meters high for at least 30 min provide the best cost and convenience compromise for sensors deployment. Future efforts should be focused on the calibration and validation of lightweight analytical systems mounted on UASs for quantifying trace atmospheric gases. In conclusion, UASs offer new and exciting opportunities to study atmospheric composition and its effect on weather patterns and climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; unmanned aerial vehicles; unmanned aerial systems; drones; atmospheric composition; sensors remote sensing; unmanned aerial vehicles; unmanned aerial systems; drones; atmospheric composition; sensors
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Schuyler, T.J.; Guzman, M.I. Unmanned Aerial Systems for Monitoring Trace Tropospheric Gases. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 206.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

Back to TopTop