UAV aircrafts provide new insights into the formation of the smallest particles in Arctic


IMAGE: This is the unmanned plane ALADINA in front of Mount Zeppelin near Ny- Ålesund.
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Credit: Konrad Bärfuss, TU Braunschweig

Ny- Ålesund (Spitsbergen). Investigations of the environment by ways of unmanned mini-airplanes can contribute considerably to the examination of the triggers of Arctic environment modification, as they provide an insight into ground-level air layers that are not kept track of by other determining stations. This is the conclusion drawn by a German research study group from present measurements that have actually simply happened onSpitsbergen It was possible to observe the formation of new particles in the air, which can later on develop to clouds and have an impact on environment modification. It is still not comprehended in information why the Arctic is warming more than two times as strong as other areas of the earth. The measurement project on Spitsbergen, which will run till the end of May, was the very first joint release of mini research study airplane established in Germany in a polar area. .

Duringthe ins 2015 the Arctic has progressively end up being a focus of environment research study, due to the reality that the environment modifications observed up until now in the Arctic have a much more powerful effect than in other areas. The factors are complicated interactions in between environment, sea ice and ocean – hard to measure and to explain in designs. In order to enhance the understanding of the particular procedures and interactions, more measurements need to be done on website. Yet just a couple of continually determining stations and mobile measurements with ships and aircrafts are offered as a database to provide the essential criteria for analysis and modelling. .

Scientists from the Technical University of Braunschweig, the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research Leipzig and the Eberhard-KarlsUniversity of Tübingen have actually been carrying out measurements with unmanned flight systems considering that mid-Aprilin Ny- Ålesund on Spitsbergen, the northern most town in the world. This task is supported by the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research which likewise runs the French-German research study base AWIPEV in Ny- Ålesund. .

Inthe task, moneyed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and entitled “Investigations into the small-scale vertical and horizontal variability of the atmospheric boundary layer aerosol with unmanned aerial systems”, the connection in between small air turbulence and the formation of the smallest air-borne aerosol particles that can form from gases is examined in specific. Since these little particles can grow and after that spread light as well as impact the formation of clouds, they play a significant function in the environment. .

The very first examinations reveal various situations resulting in the formation of new particles in the environment: either the new formation happens all at once in all examined air layers in between ground and 850 meters height or it starts in a specific air layer and continues from there. The 2nd case can not be observed from the preliminary with the repaired determining stations in Ny- Ålesund and the neighboring Zeppelin Mountain, which have actually been in constant operation for several years, and is for that reason a crucial finding for all the researchers included. .

“The measurements with unmanned aeroplanes represent a connection between the measurements at various sites in Ny-Ålesund and on the adjacent Zeppelin Mountain and thus close a knowledge gap on the distribution and transport processes in the atmosphere,” discussesDr Astrid Lampert of the Technical University of Braunschweig, who collaborated the measurement project. .

The measurement project was the 3rd significant research study by ALADINA (Applicationof Light- weight Aircraft for Detecting IN-situ Aerosol), an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) of the type “Carolo P360”, which was established at the Institute of Aerospace Systems at Braunschweig TechnicalUniversity ALADINA is a type of high-tech design airplane: It has a wingspan of 3.6 metres, weighs 25 kgs and can carry approximately 3 kgs of payload. The battery enables a flight time of approximately 40 minutes and a speed of approximately over 100 kilometres per hour. .

The mini research study airplane has actually currently been utilized numerous times in Germany – for instance at the TROPOS measurement station Melpitz nearTorgau The unique function of this airplane is specifically its devices with particle determining gadgets, which were miniaturized at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research inLeipzig Since commercially offered gadgets would be too big and heavy for this application, the gadgets had to be established or significantly customized internally. .

TheUniversity of Tübingen likewise utilized MASC (Multi- function Airborne Sensor Carrier) UAS as part of its Spitsbergen project. These UAS are specialized in the high-resolution measurement of climatic turbulence and rough transportation of energy and impulses. Turbulence is a crucial procedure in particle formation procedures. MASC have a flight time of one and a half hours in the Arctic and are progressively utilized in wind energy research study inGermany .

In order to comprehend the numerous procedures that can cause particle formation, now a comprehensive analysis of the measurement information is essential, which will be the researcher’s primary job for the next months.


Dr Astrid Lampert (Managerof measurement project) .

AirborneMeteorology and Measurement Technology .

Instituteof Flight Guidance .

TU Braunschweig .

Phone: +49531 3919 885 .

Dr Birgit Wehner .

ExperimentalAerosol and Cloud Microphysics .

LeibnizInstitute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Leipzig .

Phone: +49341 2717 7309 .

ProfDr habil. Jens Bange .

EberhardKarls Universit ät Tübingen .

Center for Applied Geoscience (ZAG) .

Phone: +497071 29 74 714 .


ALADINA (Applicationof Light- weight Aircraft for Detecting In situ Aerosol) . . . . . .

AWIPEV Base: French – German Arctic Research Base at Ny- Ålesund/ Spitsbergen . .

DFG Collaborative Research Centre “Arctic Amplification” .


Altst ädter, B., Platis, A., Jähn, M., Baars, H., Lückerath, J., Held, A., Lampert, A., Bange, J., Hermann, M., and Wehner, B.: Airborne observations of recently formed border layer aerosol particles under cloudy conditions, AtmosChem Phys. Discuss.,, in evaluation,2018 .

The paper will exist at the Polar 2018 conference in Davos, Switzerland on June 15-26,2018 .

The work is moneyed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the task numbers LA 2907/ 5-1, WI 1449/22 -1, Bachelor’s Degree 1988/14 -1 and LA 2907/ 5-2, WI 1449/22 -2, Bachelor’s Degree 1988/14 -2.

Platis A., Altst ädter B., Wehner B., Wildmann N., Lampert A., Hermann M., Birmilli W., and Bange J. (2016): An observational case research study on the impact of climatic boundary-layer characteristics on new particleformation Boundary-LayerMeteorol., 158, 67-92

Altst ädter, B., Platis, A., Wehner, B., Scholtz, A., Wildmann, N., Hermann, M., Käthner, R., Baars, H., Bange, J., and Lampert, A. (2015): ALADINA – an unmanned research study airplane for observing vertical and horizontal circulations of ultrafine particles within the climatic border layer, AtmosMeas Tech., 8, 1627-1639,

Wildmann N., Hofs äß M., Weimer F., Joos A., and Bange J. (2014): MASC – A little Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) for Wind EnergyResearch Advancesin Science and Research, 11, 55-61 .

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