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Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program facilities newsletter, January 2000

Description: The subject of this newsletter is the ARM unmanned aerospace vehicle program. The ARM Program's focus is on climate research, specifically research related to solar radiation and its interaction with clouds. The SGP CART site contains highly sophisticated surface instrumentation, but even these instruments cannot gather some crucial climate data from high in the atmosphere. The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense joined together to use a high-tech, high-altitude, long-endurance class of unmanned aircraft known as the unmanned aerospace vehicle (UAV). A UAV is a small, lightweight airplane that is controlled remotely from the ground. A pilot sits in a ground-based cockpit and flies the aircraft as if he were actually on board. The UAV can also fly completely on its own through the use of preprogrammed computer flight routines. The ARM UAV is fitted with payload instruments developed to make highly accurate measurements of atmospheric flux, radiance, and clouds. Using a UAV is beneficial to climate research in many ways. The UAV puts the instrumentation within the environment being studied and gives scientists direct measurements, in contrast to indirect measurements from satellites orbiting high above Earth. The data collected by UAVs can be used to verify and calibrate measurements and calculated values from satellites, therefore making satellite data more useful and valuable to researchers.
Date: February 16, 2000
Creator: Sisterson, D.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department