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High-Resolution Atmospheric Sensing of Multiple Atmospheric Variables Using the DataHawk Small Airborne Measurement System

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  • 1 Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The DataHawk small airborne measurement system provides in situ atmospheric measurement capabilities for documenting scales as small as 1 m and can access reasonably large volumes in and above the atmospheric boundary layer at low cost. The design of the DataHawk system is described, beginning with the atmospheric measurement requirements, and articulating five key challenges that any practical measurement system must overcome. The resulting characteristics of the airborne and ground support components of the DataHawk system are outlined, along with its deployment, operating, and recovery modes. Typical results are presented to illustrate the types and quality of data provided by the current system, as well as the need for more of these finescale measurements. Particular focus is given to the DataHawk's ability to make very-high-resolution measurements of a variety of atmospheric variables simultaneously, with emphasis given to the measurement of two important finescale turbulence parameters, (the temperature turbulence structure constant) and ɛ (the turbulent energy dissipation rate). Future sensing possibilities and limitations using this approach are also discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dale A. Lawrence, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: dale.lawrence@colorado.edu

Abstract

The DataHawk small airborne measurement system provides in situ atmospheric measurement capabilities for documenting scales as small as 1 m and can access reasonably large volumes in and above the atmospheric boundary layer at low cost. The design of the DataHawk system is described, beginning with the atmospheric measurement requirements, and articulating five key challenges that any practical measurement system must overcome. The resulting characteristics of the airborne and ground support components of the DataHawk system are outlined, along with its deployment, operating, and recovery modes. Typical results are presented to illustrate the types and quality of data provided by the current system, as well as the need for more of these finescale measurements. Particular focus is given to the DataHawk's ability to make very-high-resolution measurements of a variety of atmospheric variables simultaneously, with emphasis given to the measurement of two important finescale turbulence parameters, (the temperature turbulence structure constant) and ɛ (the turbulent energy dissipation rate). Future sensing possibilities and limitations using this approach are also discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dale A. Lawrence, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: dale.lawrence@colorado.edu
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