Mobile Cloud Laboratory
Each Cloudkite carries a suite of instruments to measure fluid properties and particle properties in clouds. But to interpret the time series of wind speed and other quantitites measured by the Cloudkite as well as evaluating flight safety, we need additional instruments on the ground to get the big picture in terms of cloud and boundary layer dynamics. Additionally, we need to transport the Cloudkite to the field, have a location to repair instruments, and bring some computing power to do data analysis in the field. To accomplish this, we are building the Mobile Cloud Laboratory (MCL), an instrumented van to transport the Cloudkite and function as a mobile weather station.
The quantities measured on the ground are basic meteorology (temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and direction), dewpoint via chilled mirror, precipitation rate, hydrometeor size distribution, cloud ceiling and backscatter, and the atmospheric electric field via field mill. Specifically, the wind and electric field measurements are important to evaluate the risk of high winds and potential lightning.