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NOAA'S Unmanned Aircraft Program: Recent Accomplishments and Future Plans


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program is evaluating the potential benefit that UAS platforms and sensors can provide to the NOAA mission by meeting critical or unique observational requirements that are currently not met by other observing platforms. The NOAA UAS Program has supported successful system testing of conceptual studies focused on observing the meteorological conditions of the lowest air-sea boundary layers of hurricanes, the changing size and volume of meltponds on Greenland glaciers, and identifying the location of ice seal species in the Bering Sea. Next, the NOAA UAS Program will be developing and testing more robust UAS mission concepts that focus on high priority NOAA observational requirements or key science issues. Mission concepts will be research missions that will provide observations that lead to new understanding for improved NOAA products, guidance, or predictions or operational missions that will provide information for improved NOAA products, guidance, or predictions. The current strategic planning for the UAS Program will include readiness assessments of UAS technologies and transition to operations of successfully demonstrated technologies that could strengthen core competencies to improve high impact weather and water forecasts, manage ocean and coastal resources, support coastal communities, and deliver information for safe transportation. Development and evaluation of UAS mission concepts which could contribute to strategic priorities for marine spatial planning, sustainability of marine fisheries, and the strengthening of Arctic science and services are also elements of the NOAA UAS science roadmap under development. Examples of mission concepts that will be explored are UAS missions that could: • Improve our ability to provide the seafaring community with current sea ice information at spatial scales not currently available. This information may be used to better forecast short- and long-term sea ice conditions that can be used by mariners, researchers, the oil and gas industry, the commercial fishing industry, and any other parties working or living in the Arctic. This directly supports strengthening core competency Deliver information for safe, effecient, and environmentally sound transpo

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Fiscal Year
Published On
January 01, 2010

This publication was presented at the following:

14th Symposium on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land


Not available


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.

  • Elizabeth (Betsy) C. Weatherhead - Not Positioned Gsl
    Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
    NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory