Tethered air blimps have been used for atmospheric research studies since the 1940s. It is the platform of choice for Dr. Amir A. Aliabadi, Ph.D. and his engineering students at the University of Guelph for their microclimate atmospheric research studies.
The University’s balloon research was a component of three larger projects involving modeling of atmospheric environments from an air pollution and climate perspective and proved to be an effective tool for profiling surface layer statistics of the first 200 meters of the atmosphere. These micrometeorological measurements benefited through the use of the tethered balloons since they were able to stay in a fixed position for a prolonged period of time to measure the wind reliably.
“Theoretically speaking, you should be measuring for at least half an hour to an hour at a time to truly be accurate,” Aliabadi states. “Our balloon just lift off and ascends-descends slowly and collects hours of data, which is what you need to do to perform a proper long-term assessment of boundary layer physics, including the measurement of turbulence statistics with low systematic and random errors.”
“While accuracy of measurements and weight were key factors in selecting the TriSonica Mini, the key element was the sensor’s price,” clarifies Aliabadi. “Competing ultrasonic anemometers can cost as much as $10,000 Canadian. The TriSonica Mini was a fraction of that cost and thus made the decision an easy one for us.”
For more information on Dr. Aliabadi’s research using tethered air blimps, click here.
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