SBIR Phase II: A Device for Measuring Electric Field Strength from Dropsondes and Radiosondes

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$499,970.00
Award Year:
2005
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
0450497
Agency Tracking Number:
0320341
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
SPEC, Inc.
3022 Sterling Circle, Boulder, CO, 80301
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
R Lawson
Dr
(303) 449-1105
plawson@specinc.com
Business Contact:
Paul Lawson
Dr
(303) 449-1105
plawson@specinc.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
This SBIR Phase II research project will provide research-aircraft and weather-balloon flight tests a new, novel device for measuring the electric field strength of thunderstorms and hurricanes. Electric field strength is a significant factor in the development of precipitation and lightning, and may even play a role in influencing the intensity of precipitation from thunderstorms. Research aircraft flights that typically measure electric field strength in thunderstorms and hurricanes are difficult and potentially dangerous because of the hazardous conditions, such as lightning, hail and turbulence. However, the new device, called an electric field module, can be contained in a device called a dropsonde and dropped through thunderstorms from aircraft flying above the storm, or attached to weather balloons called radiosondes that are released from the ground. ince over 7,000 dropsondes and 400,000 weather balloons are routinely deployed each year, adding electric field measures to these devices represents a substantial commercial market. Measurements using the new E-field modules deployed by the SPEC Learjet research aircraft will be unique and open a new realm for analyzing the structure of electric fields in storms. A more realizable goal is improved aviation safety, by virtue of a better understanding of lightning discharges from clouds associated with thunderstorms, particularly anvil clouds, where commercial aircraft are often struck by lightning.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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