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The Development of Instrumentation and Methods for Measurement of Air-Sea Interaction and Coastal Processes from Manned and Unmanned Aircraft /


I present the development of instrumentation and methods for the measurement of coastal processes, ocean surface phenomena, and air-sea interaction in two parts. In the first, I discuss the development of a portable scanning lidar (light detection and ranging) system for manned aircraft and demonstrate its functionality for oceanographic and coastal measurements. Measurements of the Southern California coastline and nearshore surface wave fields from seventeen research flights between August 2007 and December 2008 are analyzed and discussed. The October 2007 landslide on Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, California was documented by two of the flights. The topography, lagoon, reef, and surrounding wave field of Lady Elliot Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef were measured with the airborne scanning lidar system on eight research flights in April 2008. Applications of the system, including coastal topographic surveys, wave measurements, ship wake studies, and coral reef research, are presented and discussed. In the second part, I detail the development of instrumentation packages for small (18 - 28 kg) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to measure momentum fluxes and latent, sensible, and radiative heat fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), and the surface topography. Fast-response turbulence, hygrometer, and temperature probes permit turbulent momentum and heat flux measurements, and short- and long-wave radiometers allow the determination of net radiation, surface temperature, and albedo. Careful design and testing of an accurate turbulence probe, as demonstrated in this thesis, are essential for the ability to measure momentum and scalar fluxes. The low altitude required for accurate flux measurements (typically assumed to be 30 m) is below the typical safety limit of manned research aircraft; however, it is now within the capability of small UAV platforms. Flight tests of two instrumented BAE Manta UAVs over land were conducted in January 2011 at McMillan Airfield (Camp Roberts, CA), and flight tests of similarly instrumented Boeing-Insitu ScanEagle UAVs were conducted in April 2012 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (Dahlgren, VA), where the first known direct flux measurements were made from low-altitude (down to 30 m) UAV flights over water (Potomac River). During the October 2012 Equatorial Mixing Experiment in the central Pacific aboard the R/V Roger Revelle, ship-launched and recovered ScanEagles were deployed in an effort to characterize the marine atmospheric boundary layer structure and dynamics. I present a description of the instrumentation, summarize results from flight tests, present preliminary analysis from UAV flights off of the Revelle and discuss potential applications of these UAVs for marine atmospheric boundary layer studies

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