The Variety of New Commercial Aircraft
Sensors for Weather, Climate, and Air Quality Applications: Accuracy
The use of
commercial aircraft as platforms of opportunity to provide real time
wind and temperature data began in 1979. Today there are organized
national efforts to use the commercial aircraft as observing platforms
in 15 countries and another 18 countries have similar programs in
various stages of development.
The reasons for the growth involve the convenience of the platforms,
the remarkable accuracy achievable by existing and planned sensors
on-board the commercial aircraft, and the increasing demand for more
accurate data in quality and quantity for various socioeconomic
applications. Each of these three factors is addressed in the
The addition of an accurate water vapor sensor and other sensors for
atmospheric trace gases of interest has been driven by the downward
spiral of laser prices and various technologies that have come
together. These are briefly reviewed.
The emphasis of the presentation is on the accuracy of the sensors and
the various socioeconomic applications that are driving the demand for
more accuracy in our science.