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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-247
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-247
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Jul 2020

08 Jul 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

Design and Field Campaign Validation of a Multirotor UAV and Optical Particle Counter

Joseph Girdwood1, Helen Smith1,a, Warren Stanley1, Zbigniew Ulanowski1,b,c, Chris Stopford1, Charles Chemel1,2, Konstantinos-Matthaios Doulgeris3, David Brus3, David Campbell4, and Robert Mackenzie1 Joseph Girdwood et al.
  • 1Centre for Atmospheric and Climate Physics, School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB
  • 2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Centre for Atmospheric and Climate Physics, School of Physics, Astronomy andMathematics, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB
  • 3Finnish Meteorological Institute, PO Box 503, FI-00101, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB
  • anow at: TruLife Optics Ltd, 79 Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, UK
  • bnow at: Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • cnow at: British Antarctic Survey, NERC, Cambridge, UK

Abstract. Small unmanned aircraft (SUA) have the potential to be used as platforms for the measurement of atmospheric particulates. The use of an SUA platform for these measurements provides benefits such as high manoeuvrability, re-usability, and low-cost when compared with traditional techniques. However, the complex aerodynamics of an SUA (particularly for multirotor airframes), combined with the miniaturisation of particle instruments poses difficulties for accurate and representative sampling of particulates. The work presented here relies on computational fluid dynamics with Lagrangian particle tracking (CFD-LPT) simulations to influence the design of a bespoke meteorological sampling system: the UH-AeroSAM. This consists of a custom built airframe, designed to reduce sampling artefacts due to the propellers, and a purpose built open-path optical particle counter–the Ruggedised Cloud and Aerosol Sounding System (RCASS). OPC size distribution measurements from the UH-AeroSAM are compared with the Cloud and Aerosol Precipitation Spectrometer (CAPS) for measurements of Stratus cloud during the Pallas Cloud Experiment (PaCE) in 2019. Good agreement is demonstrated between the two instruments. The integrated dN/dlog(Dp) is shown to have a coefficient of determination of 0.8, and a regression slope of 0.9 when plotted 1:1.

Joseph Girdwood et al.

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Joseph Girdwood et al.

Joseph Girdwood et al.

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Latest update: 27 Oct 2020
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Short summary
We present the design and validation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a bespoke optical particle counter (OPC). This is used to monitor atmospheric particles, which have significant effects on our weather & climate. These effects are hard to characterise properly, partly because they occur in regions that are not commonly accessible to traditional instrumentation. Our new platform gives us the capability to access these regions.
We present the design and validation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a bespoke...
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