Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

1 October 2016 - 30 September 2019

Lead Scientist: Jamey Jacob

Observatory: SGP

CLOUD-MAP—which is short for Collaboration Leading Operational Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics—is a four year, four university collaboration funded by the National Science Foundation to develop capabilities that will allow meteorologists and atmospheric scientists to use unmanned aircraft as a common, useful everyday tool.

Currently, we know that systems can be used for meteorological measurements, but they are far from being practical or robust for everyday field diagnostics by the average meteorologist or scientist. In particular, UAS are well suited for the lower atmosphere, namely the lower boundary layer that has a large impact on the atmosphere and where much of the weather phenomena begin.

Due to the boundary layer’s proximity to the ground and its transient nature, current technologies have severe limitations in providing detailed measurements: manned aircraft are too dangerous or expensive to fly near the ground; radar cannot see over the horizon and do not measure all of the important thermodynamic parameters forecasters need; and weather balloons have too short of a duration at low altitudes to provide useful information, particular during transient events such as severe storms or fronts.

These data will be used to improve our understanding and develop more accurate forecasting models in the near future.


Phillip Chilson
Adam Houston

Related Publications


Mather J. 2018. 2017 Annual Report. Ed. by Rolanda Jundt, ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-17-038.

View All Related Publications