Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will be of large and increasing importance for environmental monitoring in the future, e.g. under the aspects of climate change and sustainable development. The Action will coordinate ongoing and conceive future research on the development and application of UAS as a cost-efficient, trans-boundary method for the monitoring of the atmospheric boundary layer and the underlying surface of the Earth. These systems will help to close the recent observational gap between established ground based and satellite based measurements and provide relevant atmospheric data both with high temporal and spatial resolution and an unique data coverage in space and time. This will distinctly increase the understanding of the atmospheric boundary layer and related surfaceatmosphere exchange processes which is crucial for future improvements in numerical weather prediction and climate simulation.
First prototypes of UAS systems of different size, complexity and equipped with different instrumentation, have successfully proven their functionality. Based on this, the Action will promote the conception and further development of prototypes for a fleet of UAS of different size, instrumentation, and operation range with respect to various specific observational requirements. Finally this interdisciplinary approach will establish a forum on the European level for the coordination of the relevant scientific, technical and legal aspects connected to a safe and permanent operation of UAS for routine environmental monitoring purposes.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) describes the objectives in more detail.