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Julian M. Pike

Solid state technology is making possible new innovations in instrumentation from sensors and data handling to presentation to the user. A survey of the field and its trends and the implications for atmospheric measurements are covered.

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Julian M. Pike

Abstract

Field instruments require calibration against standards that introduce-insignificant errors of their own in the process. This paper discusses a pressure and temperature calibration facility, analyzes the error levels attained in its routine use and shows that the accuracies are both reasonable and adequate. The results are given in terms of uncertainty; values of 0.025 kPa for pressure and 0.040 K for temperature were shown to meet the needs for calibration of research quality sensors.

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Julian M. Pike

Abstract

An integrated sensor is a complete measurement system that communicates its signals to a data collection and archival facility. The paper describes the concept, and how it developed from and relates to the more traditional systems. It includes a discussion of advantages and a summary of the characteristics that define an integrated sensor.

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Julian M. Pike and Ronald E. Rinehart

Abstract

An equation used to describe the calibration of an instrument is either of an arbitrary nature or based upon physics. The latter, which we call behavioral modeling, often provides a much better fit to the calibration than traditional, statistical, curve-fitting techniques. In applying behavioral modeling to a pressure transducer and to a radar receiver, we found that the behavioral models gave smaller residuals than even fairly high-order polynomials. Using fewer terms, they provided insight and information about the physical behavior of the devices in question, which otherwise could not have been obtained from arbitrary models. While behavioral modeling cannot be used for all instruments, the advantages in using them may be beneficial.

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Julian M. Pike and David W. Bargen

Atmospheric measurements are being made in rapidly growing numbers as a result of large-scale research program needs and increased operational requirements. Systems are now being deployed that are expected to operate unattended on batteries and to send reliable data for many months. Sensors for these systems must be low in cost and must consume little power. With these guidelines the Research Systems Facility of the National Center for Atmospheric Research has undertaken development of an electronic barometer with signal output particularly suited to digital data systems. Every effort has been made to keep the cost low (approximately $100), the power consumption small (milliwatt range), and the accuracy meteorologically valid for 1 year (±0.1 to ±0.2 kPa). An extensive laboratory testing program has been completed, and we are beginning field experiments that will demonstrate the reliability of the instrument. We discuss here some of the joys and frustrations in new sensor development, as well as the characteristics of the hardware and how those characteristics were determined.

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