05 Apr 2022
05 Apr 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

NOAA Air Resources Laboratory Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division’s Measurements of Temperature, Humidity and Wind using Small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems to Support Short-Term Weather Forecasting Needs over Complex Terrain

Temple R. Lee1, Travis J. Schuyler1,2, Michael Buban1,2, Edward J. Dumas1,3, Tilden P. Meyers1, and C. Bruce Baker1, Temple R. Lee et al.
  • 1NOAA Air Resources Laboratory Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations (CIWRO), Norman, Oklahoma, USA
  • 3Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
  • retired

Abstract. Small uncrewed aircraft systems (sUxS) are now being routinely used not only for sampling atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) processes and land-atmosphere interactions but also have significant potential to improve weather forecasting at National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). In the present study, we used observations obtained from a Meteomatics Meteodrone SSE sUxS flown on 31 days between 20 August and 10 December 2020 near Oliver Springs, Tennessee, located 35 km northwest of Knoxville, Tennessee. We flew the sUxS up to 700 m above ground level, starting around sunrise and continuing every half hour until 3.5–4.0 hours past sunrise under synoptically quiescent, fair weather conditions. These datasets were provided in real time to the local NWS WFO in Morristown, Tennessee and used by forecasters there to assist with short-term operational forecasting needs. The sUxS profiles also provided finescale details on the early-morning transition over complex terrain and how this evolution varied during the late summer to winter period, which can be used to support the initialization of numerical weather prediction models.

Temple R. Lee et al.

Status: open (until 31 May 2022)

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Temple R. Lee et al.

Temple R. Lee et al.


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Short summary
Small uncrewed aircraft systems (sUxS), or drones, can be used to sample temperature, moisture, and wind in the lowest part of the atmosphere. In this study, we performed nearly 250 flights with our sUxS at a site about 20 miles northwest of Knoxville, Tennessee. We provided these datasets to forecasters at the local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office to assist them with making their weather forecasts.