Observations from aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS/UAV/UAS) and balloons are an important means to obtain a broad view of processes within the Earth environment during measurement campaigns. The range of available instruments enables a broad and flexible range of applications. It includes sensors for meteorological parameters, trace gases and cloud/aerosol particles and more complex systems like high spectral resolution lidar, hyperspectral imaging at wavelengths from the visible to thermal infra-red, solar-induced fluorescence and synthetic aperture radar. The use of small state-of-the-art instruments, the combination of more and more complex sets of instruments with improved accuracy and data acquisition speed enables more complex campaign strategies even on small aircraft, balloons or RPAS.
Applications include atmospheric parameters, structural and functional properties of vegetation, glaciological processes, sea ice and iceberg studies, soil and minerals and dissolved or suspended matter in inland water and the ocean. Ground based systems and satellites are key information sources to complement airborne datasets and a comprehensive view of the observed system is often obtained by combining all three. Aircraft and balloon operations depend on weather conditions either to obtain the atmospheric phenomenon of interest or the required surface-viewing conditions and so require detailed planning. They provide large horizontal and vertical coverage with adaptable temporal sampling. Future satellite instruments can be tested using airborne platforms during their development. The validation of operational satellite systems and applications using airborne measurements has come increasingly into focus with the European Copernicus program in recent years.
This session will bring together aircraft, balloon and RPAS operators and researchers to present:
• an overview of the current status of environmental research focusing on the use of airborne platforms
• recent observation campaigns and their outcomes
• multi-aircraft/balloon/RPAS and multi-RI campaigns
• using airborne and ground-based RI to complement satellite data, including cal/val campaigns
• identifying and closing capability gaps
• contributions of airborne measurements to modelling activities
• airborne platforms to reduce the environmental footprint of alternative observation strategies
• airborne instruments, developments and observations
• future plans involving airborne research