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Open AccessArticle

Considerations for Atmospheric Measurements with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2018, 9(7), 252;
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 27 June 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Measurements with Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS))
This paper discusses results of the CLOUD-MAP (Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics) project dedicated to developing, fielding, and evaluating integrated small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for enhanced atmospheric physics measurements. The project team includes atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, engineers, computer scientists, geographers, and chemists necessary to evaluate the needs and develop the advanced sensing and imaging, robust autonomous navigation, enhanced data communication, and data management capabilities required to use sUAS in atmospheric physics. Annual integrated evaluation of the systems in coordinated field tests are being used to validate sensor performance while integrated into various sUAS platforms. This paper focuses on aspects related to atmospheric sampling of thermodynamic parameters with sUAS, specifically sensor integration and calibration/validation, particularly as it relates to boundary layer profiling. Validation of sensor output is performed by comparing measurements with known values, including instrumented towers, radiosondes, and other validated sUAS platforms. Experiments to determine the impact of sensor location and vehicle operation have been performed, with sensor aspiration a major factor. Measurements are robust provided that instrument packages are properly mounted in locations that provide adequate air flow and proper solar shielding. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric boundary layer; unmanned aircraft; meteorological observation atmospheric boundary layer; unmanned aircraft; meteorological observation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jacob, J.D.; Chilson, P.B.; Houston, A.L.; Smith, S.W. Considerations for Atmospheric Measurements with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 252.

AMA Style

Jacob JD, Chilson PB, Houston AL, Smith SW. Considerations for Atmospheric Measurements with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Atmosphere. 2018; 9(7):252.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jacob, Jamey D.; Chilson, Phillip B.; Houston, Adam L.; Smith, Suzanne W. 2018. "Considerations for Atmospheric Measurements with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems" Atmosphere 9, no. 7: 252.

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