The Effect of Climatological Variables on Future UAS-Based Atmsospheric Profiling in the Lower Atmosphere


Vertical profiles of wind, temperature, and moisture are essential to capture the kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). Our goal is to use weather observing unmanned aircraft systems (WxUAS) to perform the vertical profiles by taking measurements while ascending through the ABL and subsequently descending to the Earth’s surface. Before establishing routine profiles using a network of WxUAS stations, the climatologies of the flight locations must be studied. This was done using data from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) model. To begin, NARR data accuracy was verified against radiosondes. While the results showed variability in individual profiles, the detailed statistical analyses of the aggregated data suggested that the NARR model is a viable option for the study. Based on these findings, we used NARR data to determine fractions of successful hypothetical flights of vertical profiles across the state of Oklahoma given thresholds of visibility, cloud base level (CBL) height, and wind speed. CBL height is an important parameter because the WxUAS must stay below clouds for the flight restrictions being considered. For the purpose of this study, a hypothetical WxUAS flight is considered successful if the vehicle is able to reach an altitude corresponding to a pressure level of 600 hPa. Our analysis indicated the CBL height parameter hindered the fractions of successful hypothetical flights the most and the wind speed tolerance limited the fractions of successful hypothetical flights most strongly in the winter months. Northwest Oklahoma had the highest fractions of successful hypothetical flights, and the southeastern corner performs the worst in every season except spring, when the northeastern corner performed the worst. Future work will study the potential effect of topology and additional variables, such as amount of rainfall and temperature, on fractions of successful hypothetical flights by region of the state.

Remote Sensing, 12, 2947
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Dr. Tyler M. Bell
Dr. Tyler M. Bell
Research Scientist

Tyler is a Research Associate in CIWRO working on using ground-based remote sensors and WxUAS to advance the understanding of various boundary layer processes. He is acitvely exploring ways to optimally combine data collected from WxUAS and ground-based remote sensing.

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

Brian is a former graduate student from the BLISS team.