Design of new passively floating radio sondes for measuring and analysing clouds, funded by PoC instrument of LINKS foundation and LIFTT srl and in collaboration with Prof.ssa Tordella (DISAT Polito).

GOALS: promote actions, at all levels, to combat climate change. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

The mini ultralight smart balloon is a strategic new kind of expendable low cost, small (max 30 cm),light (about 20 g), environmental friendly (Mater-Bi.) radio probe embedding a microprocessor,IMU, GPS and sensors for the measurement inside clouds of velocity, acceleration, pressure,temperature, humidity and aerosol concentration fluctuations. To be released with the help of UAVs(Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), our probes are designed to passively float inside clouds and are about20 and 100 times lighter than NCAR (National Centre for Atmospheric Research, US) drop-sondes(i.e. non-floating sondes) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US) smartballoons, respectively.Our radio-sonde is mini in size: thus, it can sense air – water vapor – water droplets –aerosolsphysical-chemical fluctuations down to a few centimeters for the wavelength and up to frequenciesof a few hertz. It is green: the balloon is biodegradable (Mater Bi, Novamont). It is expendable: weforesee a final cost of the order of 40 euros. It is easily manageable: it can be positioned in-situ bydrones and then released to freely float inside clouds or other atmospheric environments.Atmospheric radio-sondes currently in use are not able to passively float inside clouds. Thoseconceived for lapse rate sounding rise through the atmosphere while being convectively transportedby the local wind shear, if present. The drop-sonde fall under gravity across the Planetary BoundaryLayers. They are released by aircrafts and reach the Earth surface in a few minutes. NOAA LASB arelarge balloon (11-feet) sondes which are wind transported for a time lapse up to a few weeks andhundreds to thousand kilometres (for many degrees both in latitude and longitude). They areconceived to track large scale atmospheric Lagrangian motions inside the low Troposphere. Theadjective smart refers to the capability to adjust the altitude but not to the biodegradability of theballoon material. NOAA smart balloon send data via a transponder to a C130 research aircraft flyingin the vicinity of the balloon. They thus require aircraft support all along their flight trajectories.

KEYWORDS: Fluid dynamics (physics), Atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric composition, air pollution, Earth observations from space/remote sensing, Artificial intelligence, intelligent systems, multi agent systems, Micro and nano electronic, optoelectronic and photonic components