The use of kites to investigate boundary layer meteorology

The application of kites as a platform for meteorological measurement within the boundary layer is examined. Kites are shown to fulfil a useful role within this research area, particularly when a highly mobile, lightweight and inexpensive instrumental platform is required. They are ideal for use at remote sites, or sites where terrain limits access for more conventional profiling equipment. The development of a reliable, tethered radiosonde atmospheric profiling system (TRAPS) is described, comparing the relative performance of two different sizes of two different types of kite. Basic kite aerodynamics are explained as well as a number of practical problems which have to be overcome or accommodated. Appropriate kite selection for given wind conditions and experimental requirements is suggested, providing an operational windspeed of between 2 and 14 m s−1. Finally, experimental results from three diverse remote sites illustrate practical applications of the profiling system, investigating firstly the structure of surface inversions over an ice shelf in the Antarctica, secondly flow over hills in Cumbria and thirdly convective boundary-layer structure on the Isle of Arran, Scotland


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Authors: Varley, M J

1 June, 1997
Meteorological Applications / 4
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