Uncrewed aircraft and marine systems have great potential to enhance and expand the ways that NOAA meets its mission to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean and coasts. NOAA’s Uncrewed Systems Operations Center (UxSOC) and Uncrewed Systems Research Transition Office (UxSRTO) are partnering to support and facilitate the research, development and transition to operations of uncrewed systems (UxS) across the agency. To that end, the two NOAA offices are funding 12 innovative projects, with a focus on […]
High-altitude Operational Returning Unmanned System (HORUS) Acquires Measurements at Altitude of 90,000 ft (MSL)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Colm Sweeney and Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Bianca Baier (GML) The NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML) AirCore has revolutionized high-altitude trace gas sampling to ~30 km (> 98% of atmosphere) in the past decade. These trace gas profiles provide valuable information for satellite validation and understanding of atmospheric composition in the lower-middle stratosphere that are unreachable by most aircraft. The AirCore — a 100-m long coiled tube — is a passive whole-air sampling
For over 30 years, NOAA has utilized reconnaissance aircraft to obtain measurements within tropical cyclones (TCs), including hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. These platforms have proven extremely valuable for furthering TC research and improving forecasts. Any data that improves tropical cyclone forecasts in turn improves tropical cyclone watches, warnings, and relevant evacuation information.
The recent advent of small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are being evaluated for their potential to enhance the reconnaissance data gathered by NOAA by operating in hazardous regions where conventional aircraft cannot fly.
NOAA Completes FVR-55 Operations in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds to Measure Atmospheric Aerosol Properties needed to Improve Climate Model Simulations
Between August 8th and 18th, 2022, the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the University of Washington Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) used the L3Harris Fixed Wing Vertical Takeoff and Landing Rotator (FVR-55) uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to measure aerosol and cloud vertical profiles with the NOAA Clear Sky and Cloudy Sky scientific payloads (descriptions provided below). The sensors in the payloads measure aerosol properties relevant to aerosol direct radiative forcing and aerosol – cloud interactions. The mission was supported, in part, by NOAA’s Earth Radiation Budget (ERB) program that was initiated to investigate natural and human activities that might alter the reflectivity of marine boundary clouds. The UAS measurements reported here will provide critical information on the processes that lead to the brightening of marine clouds with a potential cooling of the Earth’s surface.
NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Ice Seal Research in the Eastern Bering Sea Aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s (AFSC) studies Alaska’s marine ecosystems to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of living marine resources in federal waters. A recent study done by NOAA scientists focuses on surveying ice seals, with the primary goal of deploying non-invasive, low-disturbance methods for monitoring the body condition of Arctic seals as an indicator of population health and productivity. This work complements and expands the capabilities of NOAA’s existing large-area photographic surveys to monitor Arctic seal populations and their responses to a rapidly changing environment. The methods and techniques developed throughout this project will greatly enhance NOAA Fisheries capabilities to assess the status and trends of bearded, ringed, spotted, ribbon, and harbor seals in Alaska, as well as meet the agency’s responsibilities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). From April 8th-25th 2022, researchers with the The Polar Ecosystems Program (PEP) embarked on the NOAA AFSC ice seal research expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson in the eastern Bering Sea.