Institute of Atmospheric Physics developed unmanned semi-submersible vehicle (USSV) for obtaining real-time marine meteorological parameters
The study of 75% of the Earth's atmosphere that is found over water is a challenging task and researchers mostly rely on planes or ships, both of which result in expensive expeditions. Moreover, these approaches are also usually more vulnerable to inclement weather compared to land-based observations. Now, a team of researchers from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, China, built the world's first robotic, partially submersible boat that can launch for launch Rocketsonde – a sounding rocket — a technology that will help to better understand the atmosphere over Earth's oceans.
The new boat is officially classified as an ‘unmanned semi-submersible vehicle’ (USSV) and is designed to sail into bad weather, deploy a sounding rocket, and gather crucial data regarding the atmosphere and ocean. The team used sounding rockets that are capable of making brief flights through different layers of the atmosphere. The rockets were used to carry meteorological equipment as high as 5 miles (8 kilometers) above the ocean. According to Jun Li, a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-author of the paper, USSV is an ideal platform for marine meteorological environmental monitoring.
Moreover, the atmospheric profile information offered by sounding rockets can improve the accuracy of numerical weather forecasts at sea and in coastal zones. The team had conducted the tests in 2016 and 2017 and with these initial tests of the system complete, the team is focused on deploying a network of these boats to study typhoons. The team also plans to equip the boats with more-advanced oceanography sensors. The results of the first tests with the system were published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on January 31, 2019.
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