Characterization of a quadrotor unmanned aircraft system for aerosol-particle-concentration measurements

TitleCharacterization of a quadrotor unmanned aircraft system for aerosol-particle-concentration measurements
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBrady JM, Stokes MD, Bonnardel J., Bertram TH
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Date Published2016/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0013-936X
Accession NumberWOS:000369471300035
Keywordsair-pollution; generation; ocean; sea spray aerosol; simulation; surf-zone; vertical profiles

High-spatial-resolution, near-surface vertical profiling of atmospheric chemical composition is currently limited by the availability of experimental platforms that can sample in constrained environments. As a result, measurements of near surface gradients in trace gas and aerosol particle concentrations have been limited to studies conducted from fixed location towers or tethered balloons. Here, we explore the utility of a quadrotor unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as a sampling platform to measure vertical and horizontal concentration gradients of trace gases and aerosol particles at high spatial resolution (1 m) within the mixed layer (0-100 m). A 3D Robotics Iris+ autonomous quadrotor UAS was outfitted with a sensor package consisting of a two-channel aerosol optical particle counter and a CO2 sensor. The UAS demonstrated high precision in both vertical (+/- 0.5 m) and horizontal positions (+/- 1 m), highlighting the potential utility of quadrotor UAS drones for aerosol- and trace-gas measurements within complex terrain, such as the urban environment, forest canopies, and above difficult-to-access areas such as breaking surf. Vertical profiles of aerosol particle number concentrations, acquired from flights conducted along the California coastline, were used to constrain sea-spray aerosol-emission rates from coastal wave breaking.

Short TitleEnviron. Sci. Technol.
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