Atmospheric Aerosol Sampling with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Alaska: Instrument Development, Payload Integration, and Measurement Campaigns 

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sean R. Barberie, Eyal Saiet II, Michael C. Hatfield and Catherine Frances Cahill, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States
Atmospheric aerosols remain one of biggest variables in understanding global climate. The number of feedback loops involved in aerosol processes lead to nonlinear behavior at the systems level, making confident modeling and prediction difficult. It is therefore important to ground-truth and supplement modeling efforts with rigorous empirical measurements. To this end, the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has developed a new cascade DRUM-style impactor to be mounted aboard a variety of unmanned aircraft and work in tandem with an optical particle counter for the routine collection of atmospheric aerosols. These UAS-based aerosol samplers will be employed for measurement campaigns in traditionally hazardous conditions such as volcanic plumes and over forest fires. Here we report on the development and laboratory calibration of the new instrument, the integration with UAS, and the vertical profiling campaigns being undertaken.