Ultra-Light Airborne Measurement System for Investigation of Urban Boundary Layer Dynamics

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Apr 21;21(9):2920. doi: 10.3390/s21092920.


Winter smog episodes are a severe problem in many cities around the world. The following two mechanisms are responsible for influencing the level of pollutant concentrations: emission of pollutants from different sources and associated processes leading to formation of secondary aerosols in the atmosphere and meteorology, including advection, which is stimulated by horizontal wind, and convection, which depends on vertical air mass movements associated with boundary layer stability that are determined by vertical temperature and humidity gradients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the performance of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based measurement system developed for investigation of urban boundary layer dynamics. The evaluation was done by comparing the results of temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and particulate matter fraction with aerodynamic diameter below 10 μm (PM10) concentration vertical profiles obtained using this system with two reference meteorological stations: Jagiellonian University Campus (JUC) and radio transmission tower (RTCN), located in the urban area of Krakow city, Southern Poland. The secondary aim of the study was to optimize data processing algorithms improving the response time of UAV sensor measurements during the ascent and descent parts of the flight mission.

Keywords: PBL; UAV; air pollution; low-cost sensor; response time; vertical profile.