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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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  07 Jan 2021

07 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Distributed wind measurements with multiple quadrotor UAVs in the atmospheric boundary layer

Tamino Wetz1, Norman Wildmann1, and Frank Beyrich2 Tamino Wetz et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Deutscher Wetterdienst, Meteorologisches Observatorium Lindenberg – Richard-Aßmann-Observatorium, Lindenberg, Germany

Abstract. In this study, a swarm of quadrotor UAVs is presented as a system to measure the spatial distribution of atmospheric boundary layer flow. The big advantage of this approach is, that multiple and flexible measurement points in space can be sampled synchronously. The algorithm to obtain horizontal wind speed and direction is designed for hovering flight phases and is based on the principle of aerodynamic drag and the related quadrotor dynamics. During the FESST@MOL campaign at the Boundary Layer Field Site (Grenzschichtmessfeld, GM) Falkenberg of the Lindenberg Meteorological Observatory - Richard-Aßmann-Observatory (MOL-RAO), 76 calibration and validation flights were performed. The 99 m tower equipped with cup and sonic anemometers at the site is used as the reference for the calibration of the wind measurements. The validation with an independent dataset against the tower anemometers reveals that an average accuracy, regarding the root mean square deviation, of σrms< 0.3 m s-1 for the wind speed and σrms, ψ < 8° for the wind direction was achieved. Furthermore, we compare the spatial distribution of wind measurements with the swarm to the tower vertical profiles and Doppler wind lidar scans. We show that the observed shear in the vertical profiles matches well with the tower and the fluctuations on short time scales agree between the systems. Flow structures that appear in the time series of a line-of-sight measurement and a two-dimensional vertical scan of the lidar can be observed with the swarm and are even sampled with a higher resolution than the deployed lidar can provide.

Tamino Wetz et al.

Status: open (until 04 Mar 2021)

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Tamino Wetz et al.

Tamino Wetz et al.


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