News

Deployment and Operation of the RAAVEN small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) in Support of NOAA Science during ATOMIC

ARTICLE AND FIGURES PROVIDED BY GIJS DE BOER (ESRL/PSD/CIRES/CU) AND JANET INTRIERI (ESRL/PSD)

Kenneth Vierra 0 2476 Article rating: 3.5

Supported with UAS Program Office funding, a team from the University of Colorado Boulder will deploy the RAAVEN sUAS from Barbados between 19 January and 17 February 2020. Launch and retrieval will occur from the shore at a field and the adjacent beach in Morgan Lewis, Barbados RAAVEN miniFlux measurements can directly contribute to advancing our scientific understanding relevant to NOAA forecasting efforts across weather and climate scales. Specifically, information on the vertical distribution of dynamic (momentum) and thermodynamic fields (heat fluxes), spatial and temporal variation of PBL height, formation and maintenance of tropical clouds, and ABL stability can be used to evaluate boundary layer and cloud parameterizations. This to examine and better understand the physical processes supporting the organization of tropical clouds and to provide guidance on model physics development. Improving model physics is one of the major goals articulated in NOAA’s Unified Forecast System (UFS) Goals and Priorities document. 

Surveying Antarctic Predators to Inform Fisheries Management

Article and Figures Provided By Douglas Kraus (NMFS/AERD)

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NOAA Fisheries’ Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division (AERD) studies and monitors several species of seals and penguins that are indicators of the health of the regional fishery for Antarctic krill. Krill are the focus of an expanding international fishery in the Antarctic, but are also a fundamental food source for the region’s fish, marine mammals, and birds. Accurate census counts and measurements of body condition are fundamental to seal and penguin population management, but can be difficult to obtain in remote polar environments. Funding from the UAS Program Office partially supports said studies.

 

Observing Atmospheric Fluxes with UAS (miniFlux)

Article and Figures Provided By: Gijs de Boer (ESRL/PSD/CIRES)

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Understanding the transfer of heat and momentum between different layers of the atmosphere and the underlying surface is critical for improving our weather and climate forecasts. Scientists at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Division (PSD) and the University of Colorado’s (CU) Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) are working to develop, test, calibrate and deploy the compact, lightweight (1.2 lbs) miniFlux sensor system (Figure 1). This miniaturized instrument, which is supported by NOAA’s UAS Program Office, can reliably collect these measurements from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  Deploying this lightweight package on UAS over difficult-to-sample regions of the Earth can provide perspectives on these important processes in ways not previously possible.

sUAS Bathymetric Mapping for Featureless Bottom Topography Using Naturally Occurring Structure Light

Article and Figures Provided By: Tim Battista (NOS/NCCOS)

Kenneth Vierra 0 2912 Article rating: No rating
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with Flash Structure from Motion (SfM) capabilities are of great interest as a supplement to existing technologies for marine debris detection, reef restoration, and ship-grounding impacts. Coastal storms and geo-hazards, including hurricanes, nor’easters and tsunamis, can deposit marine debris over vast areas, threatening marine ecosystems and navigation safety. Identification and geolocation of the debris is necessary to direct removal efforts, but can be a challenging and expensive task. These events can also cause significant damage to coral reef communities and even dislodge corals. Restoration triage to “replant” the damaged corals is time critical. Additionally, ship-grounding incidents caused by coastal storms require accurate and rapid information to conduct damage assessment and recovery efforts. The available geospatial information collected after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which heavily impacted the U.S. Caribbean and beyond, clearly indicate the limitations of current coastal intelligence abilities to addressing disaster impacts in the littoral zone.

Marine Mammal Monitoring Surveys Using a Hybrid Fixed-Wing UAS

Article and Figures Provided By: Trevor Joyce (NOAA Affiliate - SWFCC/MMTD)

Kenneth Vierra 0 865 Article rating: No rating
Gathering data on the size of marine wildlife populations and better understanding the risks human activities pose to these populations are core responsibilities of NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center / Marine Mammal and Turtle Division. In this study, supported by the UAS Program Office, scientists will be evaluating the use of a fixed-wing UAS platform with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL; Firefly6 Pro, BirdsEyeView Aerobotics, Inc.).
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