In July 2018, unmanned aerial systems (UASs) were deployed to measure the properties of the lower atmosphere within the San Luis Valley, an elevated valley in Colorado, USA, as part of the Lower Atmospheric Profiling Studies at Elevation – a Remotely-piloted Aircraft Team Experiment (LAPSE-RATE). Measurement objectives included detailing boundary layer transition, canyon cold-air drainage and convection initiation within the valley. Details of the contribution to LAPSE-RATE made by the University of Kentucky are provided here, which include measurements by seven different fixed-wing and rotorcraft UASs totaling over 178 flights with validated data. The data from these coordinated UAS flights consist of thermodynamic and kinematic variables (air temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction) and include vertical profiles up to 900 m above the ground level and horizontal transects up to 1500 m in length. These measurements have been quality controlled and are openly available in the Zenodo LAPSE-RATE community data repository (https://zenodo.org/communities/lapse-rate/, last access: 23 July 2020), with the University of Kentucky data available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3701845 (Bailey et al., 2020).

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Published in Earth System Science Data, v. 12.

© Author(s) 2020

This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (grant no. CBET-1351411), and the National Science Foundation, Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (grant no. 1539070). Additional student financial travel support was provided through the National Science Foundation (grant no. AGS-1807199) and Department of Energy (grant no. DE-SC0018985).

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The data files for each flight from each aircraft are available from the Zenodo open data repository (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3701845, Bailey et al., 2020). These data consist of 178 files containing thermodynamic and kinematic data (pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction) measured by the unmanned aerial systems and fixed 2 m flux tower operated by the University of Kentucky during the LAPSE-RATE campaign. These data have undergone preliminary quality control in the form of bias corrections and elimination of some false readings. Files are posted for each individual UAS flight in netCDF format. For the flux tower data, each measurement day is presented as a separate netCDF file.

The netCDF files have each variable listed individually with self-describing metadata to provide information on the source and units for the data. Missing data points or those determined to have bad values have been set to −9999.9.

Files are named using the following standard: UKY.ppppp.b1.yyyymmdd.hhmmss.cdf, with ppppp being the five-letter platform identifier, yyyymmdd being the file date (UTC year, month, day, month) and hhmmss being the file start time (UTC hours, minutes, seconds).