Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System

The Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS) is the dropsonde system for the Global Hawk. The Global Hawk dropsonde is a miniaturized version of standard RD-93 dropsondes based largely on recent MIST driftsondes deployed from balloons. The dropsonde provides vertical profiles of pressure, temperature, humidity, and winds. Data from these sondes are transmitted in near real-time via Iridium or Ku-band satellite to the ground-station, where additional processing will be performed for transmission of the data via the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) for research and operational use. The dispenser is located in zone 61 in the Global Hawk tail and is capable of releasing up to 88 sondes in a single flight.

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Water-Based Condensation Nucleus Counter

The primary condensation nucleus counter used on the NSF/NCAR G-V is a modified version of the TSI 3786 Ultra-Fine Water-Based Condensation Nucleus Counter, with modifications made by Aerosol Dynamics, Inc., and Quant. The modifications were primarily to lower the temperature in the region where droplets grow on condensation nuclei, which was necessary because the 60 C growth temperature of the standard 3786 is the boiling point when the pressure is about 200 mb, and the GV flies well above this altitude. Other changes were made to the flow control, flow rates, pumps, and water injection scheme to adapt to the large altitude range of the G-V. One substantial advantage of this instrument over other CN counters is that it does not depend on butanol as the operating fluid and so does not require handling of a flammable gas around the aircraft or flight with a flammable substance.

The threshold particle size detected by the WCN is about 5 nm, becoming larger at low pressure but remaining below the ultra-fine size range (<10 nm) at pressures as low as 150 mb. The instrument also is relatively insensitive to coincidence losses, continuing to perform with coincidence losses <10% up to concentrations around 105 cm-3. Tubing losses can be significant for small particles, so size-dependent and pressure-dependent corrections may be needed unless the lines can be kept very short (not more than a few m).

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Cloud Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer

Measures concentration and records images of cloud particles from approximately 50-1600 microns in diameter with a resolution of 25 microns per pixel. Measures cloud droplet and aerosol concentrations within the size range of 0.5-50 microns.

The three DMT instruments included in the CAPS are the Cloud Imaging Probe (CIP), the Cloud and Aerosol Spectrometer (CAS), and the Hotwire Liquid Water Content Sensor (Hotwire LWC).

The CIP, which measures larger particles, operates as follows. Shadow images of particles passing through a collimated laser beam are projected onto a linear array of 64 photodetectors. The presence of a particle is registered by a change in the light level on each diode. The registered changes in the photodetectors are stored at a rate consistent with probe velocity and the instrument’s size resolution. Particle images are reconstructed from individual “slices,” where a slice is the state of the 64-element linear array at a given moment in time. A slice must be stored each time interval that the particle advances through the beam a distance equal to the resolution of the probe. Optional grayscale imaging gives three levels of shadow recording on each photodetector, allowing more detailed information on the particles.

The CAS, which measures smaller particles, relies on light-scattering rather than imaging techniques. Particles scatter light from an incident laser, and collecting optics guide the light scattered in the 4° to 12° range into a forward-sizing photodetector. This light is measured and used to infer particle size. Backscatter optics also measure light in the 168° to 176° range, which allows determination of the real component of a particle’s refractive index for spherical particles.

The Hotwire LWC instrument estimates liquid water content using a heated sensing coil. The system maintains the coil at a constant temperature, usually 125 °C, and measures the power necessary to maintain this temperature. More power is needed to maintain the temperature as droplets evaporate on the coil surface and cool the surface and surrounding air. Hence, this power reading can be used to estimate LWC. Both the LWC design and the optional PADS software contain features to ensure the LWC reading is not affected by conductive heat loss.

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ER-2 High Altitude Dropsonde

Measures the vertical profile of atmospheric temperature, pressure, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction as the sonde falls from altitude to ocean surface.

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Dropsondes - DC-8

DC-8 dropsondes measure the vertical profile of atmospheric temperature, pressure, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction as the sonde falls from altitude to ocean surface.

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Turbulent Air Motion Measurement System

The TAMMS is composed of several subsystems including: (1) distributed pressure ports coupled with absolute and differential pressure transducers and temperature sensors, (2) aircraft inertial and satellite navigation systems, (3) a central data acquisition/processing system, and (4) water vapor instruments and potentially other trace gas or aerosol sensors.

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Scanning High-Resolution Interferometer Sounder

The Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS) is a scanning interferometer which measures emitted thermal radiation at high spectral resolution between 3.3 and 18 microns The measured emitted radiance is used to obtain temperature and water vapor profiles of the Earth's atmosphere in clear-sky conditions. S-HIS produces sounding data with 2 kilometer resolution (at nadir) across a 40 kilometer ground swath from a nominal altitude of 20 kilometers onboard a NASA ER-2 or Global Hawk.

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Raman Airborne Spectroscopic Lidar

The Raman Airborne Spectroscopic Lidar (RASL) consists of a 15W ultraviolet laser, a 24-inch (61-centimeter) diameter Dahl-Kirkham telescope, a custom receiver package, and a structure to mount these components inside an aircraft. Both the DC-8 at NASA Dryden and the P-3 at NASA/Wallops are aircrafts that could carry RASL. The system is unique because it requires the largest window ever put into either of these aircraft. A fused-silica window, diameter of 27 inches (68.6 centimeters) and 2.375 inches (6 centimeters) thick is needed to withstand the pressure and temperature differentials at a 50,000-foot (15.2-kilometer) altitude.

In June through August of 2007, RASL flew numerous times on board a King Air B-200 aircraft out of Bridgewater, VA, in support of the 2007 Water Vapor Validation Experiments (WAVES) campaign. The WAVES campaign was a series of field experiments to validate satellite measurements. RASL data, along with data from ground-based and balloon-borne instruments, were used to assess the CALIPSO and TES instruments and for studies of mesoscale water vapor variability. During the test flights, RASL produced the first-ever simultaneous measurements of tropospheric water vapor mixing ratio and aerosol extinction from an airborne platform.

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J-31 Navigation Data System and Met Sensors

Provides information on aircraft position, orientation and meteorological variables.

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NOAA Pressure and Temperature

In order to make an accurate temperature and pressure measurement, a Weston digital pressure temperature transducer is used to measure both static and ram pressure. These transducers are accurate to within +/- 0.01 % of full-scale or +/- 0.1 mbar. When the aircraft was manufactured, two ports on either side of the aircraft were placed at positions where the air moving across the skin is perpendicular to the port. These ports are connected together and to the static pressure transducer. The ram pressure measurement consists of a forward-looking tube with a wideangle opening connected to the ram pressure transducer. The ram pressure is calculated by subtracting the static pressure from this measurement.

The temperature probes consist of a slow and fast responding type 102 probe from Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. The platinum wire temperature sensor in the type 102 probe is calibrated to less than +/- 0.1 degree.

Data is gathered once every second from these probes using a custom data system. The Weston pressure transducers are held at a constant temperature of 50 degrees Celsius in order to reduce temperature effects on the measurement and in order to prevent condensation within the sensor. The analog to digital converters are also held at a relatively constant temperature, and a thousand samples from each channel is averaged each second. This over sampling results in a precision of 0.03 degrees in temperature and 0.03 mbars in pressure. We estimate the total accuracy of these measurements in flight to be +/- 0.5 degrees for temperature and +/- 0.5 mb for pressure.

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