An analysis of meteorological measurements using a miniature quad-rotor unmanned aerial system
Machado, Christopher R.
Guest, Peter S.
Goroch, Andrea K.
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Naval operational weather products, especially EM prediction, often fail to capture key meteorological features in the boundary layer due to the absence of high-resolution profile data. Quad-rotor sUAS with meteorological sensing capabilities may provide a solution for acquiring vertical profile data at sea. With the use of an RS92 radiosonde, InstantEye small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS), and a calibrated sensing tower we analyzed the effects a quad-rotor had on the accuracy of temperature and pressure profiles in the surface layer. In unstable atmospheres temperature measurements made in the surface layer are as accurate as the manufacturers claimed accuracy. In stable atmospheres mixing occurs below 1.3 m, and above 2 m sampled air comes from as much as 2 m aloft. The InstantEye’s rotors contribute to the variation in temperature measurement, and this effect is strongest near the surface. The variations introduced by the prop-wash helped suppress natural variations from turbulent fluctuations, but are still present above the surface layer. The InstantEye also introduces a 0.12 hPa pressure bias while in flight due to rotor-induced lift.
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