4D drones to measure Antarctic clouds, snow & ice

Sleds shrouded in Antarctic fog

Versatile 4D drones for observations of key deep south earth system processes

We have large gaps in our observational data about sea ice, clouds and snow in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, which effects the quality of our climate models.

The challenging polar environment restricts our ability to gather data effectively, particularly about the thickness of sea ice and the distribution of aerosols, which are critical to cloud formation. We need better tools for observing these systems that function well in a tough environment.

In this project, we’re developing and testing the use of drones to gather and validate data, including satellite data. Drones can be deployed from sea ice or ships and can cover a large area quickly – a big advantage. The application of smart technologies means we can contribute to data gathering by other Deep South Challenge projects.

Project contact: Wolfgang Rack, University of Canterbury, Gateway Antarctica
Project budget: $300,000
Project duration: July 2017 – June 2019

This project in the media:
Depth Guage, New Zealand Geographic
UC Receives Funding for 4D Drone Research in Antarctica, AirShare

Research and findings:
The Design of a UAV Mounted Snow Depth Radar, 2017 IEEE Conference on Antenna Measurements & Applications
Targeted observations of Antarctic sea ice: towards process-informed modelling, Wolfgang Rack et al, Deep South Symposium

 

Return to the Processes and Observations programme page
Check out the full list of Deep South Challenge projects

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