Summary: For tropical, extratropical and polar storm systems the lower part of the boundary layer including the air sea interface is a critical region where energy is ultimately transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere. Adequately Sampling this environment however has been difficult due to a combination of safety and logistical limitations. Still, in order to better meet NOAAs mandate to protect property and save lives through improved forecasting, significant advancements in physical understanding and model improvement must be made. Existing observing systems responsible for capturing the lower atmosphere and upper ocean boundary environment associated with turbulent storms is currently very limited. NOAA p3 Measurements from GPS dropsondes, stepped frequency microwave radiometers and onboard Doppler radar only provide "instantaneous" values and are limited in nature. Doppler winds are not available below 500 meters and good dropsondes only provide very sparse coverage of atmospheric temperature and moisture in the lowest parts of the storm. Low flying, longer endurance "continuous" UAS should be able to dramatically improve kinematic (winds) and thermodynamic (temperature and moisture) coverage in this critical region of the storm. These types of observations, once they become routine, should significantly help improve NOAA’s future forecasts associated with these turbulent storm environments.
Project Goals: The successful project would ultimately develop and successfully test and operate an air deployed UAS in turbulent storm environment(s) using NOAA aircraft. The successful project would leverage existing onboard NOAA deployment systems (GPS or Airborne Expendable Bathythermograph (AXBT) sonobuoy launch) and utilize NOAAs one way advanced data system (Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS)).