26 Sep 2022
26 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Drone-based meteorological observations up to the tropopause

Konrad Benedikt Bärfuss1, Holger Schmithüsen2, and Astrid Lampert1 Konrad Benedikt Bärfuss et al.
  • 1Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institute of Flight Guidance, 38108 Braunschweig, Germany
  • 2Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. The main in-situ data base for numerical weather prediction currently relies on radiosonde and airliner observations, with large data gaps above the oceans and in polar regions. These gaps might possibly be patched by measurements with drones, which provide a significant improvement towards environment friendly additional data, but so far have not been regarded as a feasible alternative of performing measurements in the upper troposphere. In this report, the development of a system that is capable of sounding the atmosphere under Antarctic and mid-European conditions is presented. After an assessment of the environmental conditions, the design of the system and the measurements are presented, including the process to get permissions for such flight tests in Europe. The feasibility of reaching an altitude of 10 km with a small meteorologically equipped drone is shown, and the first data are compared to radiosonde measurements. The article closes with an outlook on the potential use of drones for filling data gaps in the troposphere.

Konrad Benedikt Bärfuss et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-236', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-236', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Nov 2022

Konrad Benedikt Bärfuss et al.

Konrad Benedikt Bärfuss et al.


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Short summary
The first atmospheric soundings with an electrically powered small UAS up to an altitude of 10 km are presented, providing large potential to augment atmospheric observations and potentially fill observation gaps for numerical weather prediction. This is significant because of the needs of high resolution meteorological data, in particular in remote areas limited radiosonde measurements and limited aircraft based observation, and the need for reference data for satellite measurement calibration.