The use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for meteorological measurements has expanded significantly in recent years. SUAS are efficient platforms for collecting data with high resolution in both space and time, providing opportunities for enhanced atmospheric sampling. Furthermore, advances in mesoscale weather research and forecasting (WRF) modeling and graphical processing unit (GPU) computing have enabled high resolution weather modeling. In this manuscript, a balloon-launched unmanned glider, complete with a suite of sensors to measure atmospheric temperature, pressure, and relative humidity, is deployed for validation of real-time weather models. This work demonstrates the usefulness of sUAS for validating and improving mesoscale, real-time weather models for advancements toward reliable weather forecasts to enable safe and predictable sUAS missions beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Sensors, v. 19, issue 8, p. 1-14.

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

M.I.G. and T.J.S. would like to thank research support from the U.S. National Science Foundation under RII Track-2 FEC award No: 1539070 and the NASA Kentucky Space Grant Graduate Fellowship Award No: NNX15AR69H; G.P. acknowledges funding support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.