How small UAS can be used to investigate complex and turbulent flow structures in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer

Competency Framework

Norman Wildmann presents a wind measurement technique based on the use of UAS, a.k.a. drones.


Exchange and transport processes in the ABL are driven by turbulence on a wide range of scales. Their adequate parameterization in numerical models is essential. In heterogenous and complex terrain, the common simplification of turbulence to statistical models does not necessarily hold. Coherent structures such as convective cells, gusts, slope and valley flows, but also turbulence in cities or behind wind turbines are features which are not well represented in models. A reason for the lack of understanding is the challenge to adequately sample their spatio-temporal structure. Small unmanned aerial systems (UAS, a.k.a. drones) are increasingly used to measure meteorological quantities, including the three-dimensional wind vector in the ABL. In this talk, methods and results will be shown how UAS, either fixed-wing or rotary-wing, can be used to obtain in-situ measurements and thus help to understand complex flows.

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