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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
27 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) and is expected to appear here in due course.
3D Wind Vector Measurements using a 5-hole Probe with Remotely Piloted Aircraft
Radiance Calmer1, Greg Roberts1,2, Jana Preissler3, Solène Derrien4, and Colin O'Dowd3 1CNRM UMR, Météo-France/CNRS,Toulouse, France
2Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
3School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
4Laboratoire d’Aerologie, University of Toulouse, CNRS, France
Abstract. The importance of 3D winds (in particular updraft) in atmospheric science has motivated the adaptation of airborne wind instruments developed for manned aircraft, to the small size of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Simultaneously, enhancements in RPAS technology have increased their contribution to many fields. In atmospheric research, lightweight RPAS (< 2.5 kg) are now able to accurately measure 3D wind vectors, even in a cloud, which provides new observing tools for understanding aerosol-cloud interactions. The European project BACCHUS (Impact of Biogenic versus Anthropogenic Emissions on Clouds and Climate: towards a Holistic Understanding) focuses on these specific interactions. Vertical wind velocity at cloud base is a key parameter for aerosol-cloud interactions. To measure the three components of wind, one RPAS is equipped with a 5-hole probe and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), synchronized on an acquisition system. The 5-hole probe is calibrated and validated on a multi-axis platform in a wind tunnel, each probe and its associated pressure sensors have specific calibration coefficients. Once mounted on a RPAS, 3D winds and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) derived from the 5-hole probe are validated with a sonic anemometer on a meteorological mast. During the BACCHUS field campaign at Mace Head (Ireland), a fleet of RPAS has been utilized to profile the atmosphere and complement ground-based and satellite observations. To study aerosol-cloud interactions, the RPAS with the 5-hole probe flew at level legs near cloud base to measure vertical wind speeds. The vertical velocity measurements from RPAS are validated with vertical velocities derived from the Mace Head Doppler cloud radar, and the results illustrate the relationships between the distributions of vertical velocity and the different cloud fields.
Citation: Calmer, R., Roberts, G., Preissler, J., Derrien, S., and O'Dowd, C.: 3D Wind Vector Measurements using a 5-hole Probe with Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Radiance Calmer et al.
Radiance Calmer et al.
Radiance Calmer et al.


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Short summary
Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly called UAVs, are used in atmospheric science for in-situ measurements. The presented work shows wind measurements from a 5-hole probe on an RPAS. Comparisons with other instruments (sonic anemometer and cloud radar) show good agreement, validating the RPAS measurements. In-situ vertical wind measurements at cloud base are highlighted because they are a major parameter needed for simulating aerosol-cloud interactions, though rarely collected.
Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly called UAVs, are used in atmospheric science...