Exploring the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Local-Scale Boundary Layer Observations in a Coastal Environment
Dyer, J., Wasson, L. L., & Moorhead, R. J. (2016). Exploring the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Local-Scale Boundary Layer Observations in a Coastal Environment. 96th AMS Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA: AMS.
The atmospheric boundary layer plays a critical role in surface weather patterns and processes through surface-based energy and moisture fluxes; however, the rapid evolution of the boundary layer makes any associated observations have an inherently limited period of usefulness for real-time monitoring and analysis. Existing measurement platforms each have distinct advantages with respect to data collection - atmospheric sounders have a high temporal resolution, radiosondes can observe more parameters, satellites have a superior spatial resolution - despite having distinct disadvantages related to local-scale spatial resolution and observation frequency. The advent of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) provides a unique opportunity for high-resolution boundary layer measurements, both in terms of space and time, although the efficacy of using such a platform for meteorological research has yet to be fully explored. This project explores such an approach by utilizing a UAS-mounted meteorological instrument package to measure low-level atmospheric characteristics over the lower Pearl River watershed near Slidell, LA. This area experiences a variety of boundary layer processes related to surface-based interactions (i.e., sea and lake breeze fronts); therefore, observations over this area using the UAS will allow for an assessment of the usefulness and precision of such a platform for real-time monitoring. Based on such an assessment, the application of UAS platforms on research activities involving surface-atmosphere interactions and boundary layer processes can be more fully explored.