West Texas A&M Atmospheric Profiling System




Crosman, Erik

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An atmospheric profiling system (APS) was funded by the Kilgore Faculty Research program at West Texas A&M University. Also known as a type of “weather balloon” system, the APS is a cornerstone of atmospheric science research that will support many studies going into the future at WTAMU, including extreme heat, severe weather, fire weather, and air pollution. Applications and results from preliminary system testing are presented. This system will be used this summer in a project involving ~10 WTAMU students working with the National Weather Service to map extreme heat variations in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.


Data Collection Methodology: The West Texas A&M University atmospheric profiling system (APS) utilizes the Windsond low-cost boundary-layer profiling suite. A key feature of the Windsond is that the system is re-usable and the payload can be “cut down” by the user and retrieved for re-use. The following variables are collected vertically in the atmosphere by the APS: Temperature Humidity and dew point Wind speed and direction Barometric pressure The specification of the Windsond weather instrumentation: Weight: 13 g Battery type: Rechargeable lithium ion Battery lifetime > 60 m, 2 days in recovery mode Telemetry range 60 km; Data collection frequency 1 s Rate of ascent: Variable 0.5 – 3 m s-1 | Expected Findings: The West Texas A&M University atmospheric profiling system (APS) has been successfully set up and tested in both free-flying and recover and “tethersonde” mode. In addition, the free-flying sondes can be recovered and re-used, further enabling previously prohibitively expensive research to be conducted. The APS was leveraged to obtain a successful grant to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research COMET National Weather Service Partners Proposal Entitled: Improving Understanding of Spatiotemporal Variations in Extreme Summertime Heat at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The APS will also be utilized in an upcoming research study on air quality (determining atmospheric stability and wind flow) in the western US (https://atmos.utah.edu/aquarius/) as well as severe weather research. The APS will be used for student training and real-world experience in ENVR 4404 (Environmental Sampling) and for other class demonstrations and for outreach at area schools.



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