Observing the Central Arctic Atmosphere and Surface with University of Colorado uncrewed aircraft systems

Sci Data. 2022 Jul 23;9(1):439. doi: 10.1038/s41597-022-01526-9.


Over a five-month time window between March and July 2020, scientists deployed two small uncrewed aircraft systems (sUAS) to the central Arctic Ocean as part of legs three and four of the MOSAiC expedition. These sUAS were flown to measure the thermodynamic and kinematic state of the lower atmosphere, including collecting information on temperature, pressure, humidity and winds between the surface and 1 km, as well as to document ice properties, including albedo, melt pond fraction, and open water amounts. The atmospheric state flights were primarily conducted by the DataHawk2 sUAS, which was operated primarily in a profiling manner, while the surface property flights were conducted using the HELiX sUAS, which flew grid patterns, profiles, and hover flights. In total, over 120 flights were conducted and over 48 flight hours of data were collected, sampling conditions that included temperatures as low as -35 °C and as warm as 15 °C, spanning the summer melt season.