Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sean C. Bailey


An instrumented unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed and employed to observe the full range of turbulent motions that exist within the inertial subrange of atmospheric surface layer turbulence. The UAV was host to a suite of pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind sensors which provide the necessary data to calculate the variety of turbulent statistics that characterize the flow. Flight experiments were performed with this aircraft, consisting of a large square pattern at an altitude of 100 m above ground level. In order to capture the largest turbulent scales it was necessary to maximize the size of the square pattern. The smallest turbulent scales, on the other hand, were measured through the use of a fast response constant temperature hot wire anemometer. The results demonstrates that the UAV system is capable of directly measuring the full inertial subrange of the atmospheric surface layer with high resolution and allowing for the turbulence dissipation rate to be calculated directly.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Supported by the National Science Foundation through grant #CBET-1351411 and by National Science Foundation award #1539070, Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (CLOUDMAP).