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Christopher A. Fiebrich, Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska, Phillip B. Chilson, and Elizabeth A. Pillar-Little


In recent years, technological developments in engineering and meteorology have provided the opportunity to introduce innovative extensions to traditional surface mesonets through the application of UAS (unmanned aircraft systems). This new approach of measuring vertical profiles of weather variables by means of UAS in the atmospheric boundary layer, in addition to surface stations, has been termed a 3D mesonet.

Technological innovations of a potential 3D mesonet have recently been described in the literature. However, a broader question remains about potential socio-economic and environmental benefits and beneficiaries of this new extension. Given that the concept of a 3D mesonet is a new idea, studies about socio-economic and environmental advantages of this network (compared to traditional mesonets) do not appear to exist in the peer reviewed literature.

This paper aims to fill this gap by providing a first perspective on potential benefits and ripple effects of a 3D mesonet, addressing both the added-value and prevented losses in specific sectoral applications and for different groups. A better understanding of qualitative economic aspects related to a 3D mesonet can facilitate future developments of this technology for more cost-effective applications and to mitigate environmental challenges in more efficient ways.

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Stephan T. Kral, Joachim Reuder, Timo Vihma, Irene Suomi, Kristine F. Haualand, Gabin H. Urbancic, Brian R. Greene, Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Torge Lorenz, Björn Maronga, Marius O. Jonassen, Hada Ajosenpää, Line Båserud, Phillip B. Chilson, Albert A. M. Holtslag, Alastair D. Jenkins, Rostislav Kouznetsov, Stephanie Mayer, Elizabeth A. Pillar-Little, Alexander Rautenberg, Johannes Schwenkel, Andrew W. Seidl, and Burkhard Wrenger


The Innovative Strategies for Observations in the Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer Program (ISOBAR) is a research project investigating stable atmospheric boundary layer (SBL) processes, whose representation still poses significant challenges in state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. In ISOBAR ground-based flux and profile observations are combined with boundary layer remote sensing methods and the extensive usage of different unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). During February 2017 and 2018 we carried out two major field campaigns over the sea ice of the northern Baltic Sea, close to the Finnish island of Hailuoto at 65°N. In total 14 intensive observational periods (IOPs) resulted in extensive SBL datasets with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution, which will form the basis for various numerical modeling experiments. First results from the campaigns indicate numerous very stable boundary layer (VSBL) cases, characterized by strong stratification, weak winds, and clear skies, and give detailed insight in the temporal evolution and vertical structure of the entire SBL. The SBL is subject to rapid changes in its vertical structure, responding to a variety of different processes. In particular, we study cases involving a shear instability associated with a low-level jet, a rapid strong cooling event observed a few meters above ground, and a strong wave-breaking event that triggers intensive near-surface turbulence. Furthermore, we use observations from one IOP to validate three different atmospheric models. The unique finescale observations resulting from the ISOBAR observational approach will aid future research activities, focusing on a better understanding of the SBL and its implementation in numerical models.

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Greg M. McFarquhar, Elizabeth Smith, Elizabeth A. Pillar-Little, Keith Brewster, Phillip B. Chilson, Temple R. Lee, Sean Waugh, Nusrat Yussouf, Xuguang Wang, Ming Xue, Gijs de Boer, Jeremy A. Gibbs, Chris Fiebrich, Bruce Baker, Jerry Brotzge, Frederick Carr, Hui Christophersen, Martin Fengler, Philip Hall, Terry Hock, Adam Houston, Robert Huck, Jamey Jacob, Robert Palmer, Patricia K. Quinn, Melissa Wagner, Yan (Rockee) Zhang, and Darren Hawk
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Gijs de Boer, Constantin Diehl, Jamey Jacob, Adam Houston, Suzanne W. Smith, Phillip Chilson, David G. Schmale III, Janet Intrieri, James Pinto, Jack Elston, David Brus, Osku Kemppinen, Alex Clark, Dale Lawrence, Sean C. C. Bailey, Michael P. Sama, Amy Frazier, Christopher Crick, Victoria Natalie, Elizabeth Pillar-Little, Petra Klein, Sean Waugh, Julie K. Lundquist, Lindsay Barbieri, Stephan T. Kral, Anders A. Jensen, Cory Dixon, Steven Borenstein, Daniel Hesselius, Kathleen Human, Philip Hall, Brian Argrow, Troy Thornberry, Randy Wright, and Jason T. Kelly


Because unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer new perspectives on the atmosphere, their use in atmospheric science is expanding rapidly. In support of this growth, the International Society for Atmospheric Research Using Remotely-Piloted Aircraft (ISARRA) has been developed and has convened annual meetings and “flight weeks.” The 2018 flight week, dubbed the Lower Atmospheric Profiling Studies at Elevation–A Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Team Experiment (LAPSE-RATE), involved a 1-week deployment to Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Between 14 and 20 July 2018 over 100 students, scientists, engineers, pilots, and outreach coordinators conducted an intensive field operation using unmanned aircraft and ground-based assets to develop datasets, community, and capabilities. In addition to a coordinated “Community Day” which offered a chance for groups to share their aircraft and science with the San Luis Valley community, LAPSE-RATE participants conducted nearly 1,300 research flights totaling over 250 flight hours. The measurements collected have been used to advance capabilities (instrumentation, platforms, sampling techniques, and modeling tools), conduct a detailed system intercomparison study, develop new collaborations, and foster community support for the use of UAS in atmospheric science.

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