Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer

SUMO (Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer) is a micro-RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) for atmospheric boundary layer research that has been developed by the Geophysical Institute in cooperation with the Paparazzi community. In its original version it is intended to be operated as controllable and recoverable radiosonde for high resolution measurements of boundary layer phenomena (Reuder et al., 2009).

The RPAS SUMO is based on the commercially available model construction kit FunJet by Multiplex and is composed from EPP foam material. The aircraft has 120 W electric propulsion driving a 120 W pusher-propeller in the rear. With a length and wingspan of around 80 cm and an overall take-off weight of around 600 g the SUMO system is nearly comparable to the mass of routinely used radiosondes. The key technical specifications are listed here.

SUMO is equipped with the open source autopilot system Paparazzi, mainly developed and maintained by the École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC), Toulouse, France. This freely available autopilot is used by several hundreds of educational and scientific users all over the world. The system enables automatic flights following predefined mission plans that can be modified at any time in-flight using the 2.4 GHz bidirectional data link.

SUMO measures temperature, humidity, pressure, and surface temperature based on IR emission with a temporal resolution of 2 Hz. Wind speed and direction are determined by a flow-sensor less algorithm based on the actual GPS speed given by the autopilot and the assumption of constant true air speed while flying helical flight patterns (Mayer et al., 2012).

At the moment the integration of a 5-hole turbulence probe for the determination of the 3D flow vector with a temporal resolution of 100 Hz is under development (Reuder et al., 2012). Details on the meteorological sensors can be found here.

Up to now the Meteorology Group at GFI has performed more than 650 scientific flight missions with the SUMO system, including operations in harsh polar and maritime environments. These missions are summarized here.


SUMO References:

Reuder, J., P. Brisset, M. Jonassen, M. Müller, and S. Mayer, 2009
The Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer SUMO: A new tool for atmospheric boundary layer research.
Meteorol. Z., 18, 2, 141-147. (access)

Jonassen, M., 2008.
The Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer (SUMO) - Characterization and test of a new measurement system for atmospheric boundary layer research.
Master thesis in Meteorology, Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, 113pp. (pdf)

Mayer, S., 2011
Application and Improvement of the Unmanned Aerial System SUMO for atmospheric boundary layer studies.
PhD thesis, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway, ISBN 978-82-308-1811-4. (pdf)

Mayer, S., G. Hattenenberger, P. Brisset, M. Jonassen, and J. Reuder , 2012
A 'no-flow-sensor' wind estimation algorithm for Unmanned Aerial Systems.
International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles, 4, 1, 19-25. (access)

Mayer, S., M. Jonassen, A. Sandvik, and J.Reuder , 2012
Investigations on the stable atmospheric boundary layer based on UAS profile measurements and WRF model simulations.
Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 143 (3), 507-526, DOI 10.1007/s10546-012-9709-6. (access)

Mayer, S., A. Sandvik, M. Jonassen, and J. Reuder , 2012
Atmospheric profiling with the UAS SUMO: a new perspective for the evaluation of fine-scale atmospheric models.
Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 116, 15-26, DOI10.1007/s00703-010-0063-2. (access)

Reuder, J., M. Jonassen, and H. Olafsson, 2012
The Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer SUMO: Recent developments and applications of a micro-UAS for atmospheric boundary layer research.
Acta Geophysica, DOI: 10.2478/s11600-012-0042-8. (access)

Reuder, J. and M. Jonassen, 2012
First results of turbulence measurements in a wind park with the Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer SUMO.
Energy Procedia, 24, 176-185. (access)

Jonassen, M., H. Olafsson, H. Agustsson, O. Rögnvaldsson, and J. Reuder, 2012
Improving a High Resolution Numerical Weather Simulation by Assimilating Data from an Unmanned Aerial System.
Monthly Weather Review, 140, 3734–3756. (access)

Giebel, G., U. Schmidt Paulsen, J. Bange, A. la Cour-Harbo, J. Reuder, S. Mayer, A. van der Kroonenberg, and J. Mølgaard, 2012
Autonomous Aerial Sensors for Wind Power Meteorology - A Pre-Project.
Final project report, Risø-R-1798(EN), ISSN 0106-2840, ISBN 978-87-550-3945-2, 90pp. (access)

Jonassen, M., 2012.
Local- and Mesoscale Variability of Winds in the Complex Topography of Southwestern Norway and Iceland.
PhD thesis, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway. (pdf)

Båserud, L., 2013.
Investigating the potential of turbulence measurements with the RPAS SUMO.
Master thesis in Meteorology, Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, 95pp. (pdf)