Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 8, 115–126, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-8-115-2016
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 8, 115–126, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-8-115-2016

Review article 18 Mar 2016

Review article | 18 Mar 2016

Observations of the atmosphere and surface state over Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, using unmanned aerial systems

John J. Cassano1,2, Mark W. Seefeldt1, Scott Palo3, Shelley L. Knuth4, Alice C. Bradley3, Paul D. Herrman5, Peter A. Kernebone5, and Nick J. Logan5 John J. Cassano et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Research Computing, Office of Information Technology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 5Aerosonde Pty. Ltd, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract. In September 2012 five Aerosonde unmanned aircraft were used to make measurements of the atmospheric state over the Terra Nova Bay polynya, Antarctica, to explore the details of air–sea ice–ocean coupling. A total of 14 flights were completed in September 2012. Ten of the flight missions consisted of two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sampling the atmosphere over Terra Nova Bay on 5 different days, with one UAS focusing on the downwind evolution of the air mass and a second UAS flying transects roughly perpendicular to the low-level winds. The data from these coordinated UAS flights provide a comprehensive three-dimensional data set of the atmospheric state (air temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind) and surface skin temperature over Terra Nova Bay. The remaining UAS flights during the September 2012 field campaign included two local flights near McMurdo Station for flight testing, a single UAS flight to Terra Nova Bay, and a single UAS flight over the Ross Ice Shelf and Ross Sea polynya. A data set containing the atmospheric and surface data as well as operational aircraft data have been submitted to the United States Antarctic Program Data Coordination Center (USAP-DCC, http://www.usap-data.org/) for free access (http://gcmd.nasa.gov/getdif.htm?NSF-ANT10-43657, doi:10.15784/600125).

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Short summary
In September 2012 five Aerosonde unmanned aircraft were used to observe the atmosphere and ocean over the Terra Nova Bay polynya, Antarctica to explore the details of interactions between the ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere. A total of 14 flights and nearly 168 flight hours were completed as part of this project. A data set containing the atmospheric and surface data as well as operational aircraft data have been submitted to the United States Antarctic Program Data Coordination Center.