Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 3357–3366, 2020


Author(s) 2020.


Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) offer innovative capabilities for providing new perspectives on the atmosphere, and therefore atmospheric scientists are rapidly expanding their use, particularly for studying the planetary boundary layer. In support of this expansion, from 14 to 20 July 2018 the International Society for Atmospheric Research using Remotely piloted Aircraft (ISARRA) hosted a community flight week, dubbed the Lower Atmospheric Profiling Studies at Elevation – a Remotely-piloted Aircraft Team Experiment (LAPSE- RATE; de Boer et al., 2020a). This field campaign spanned a 1-week deployment to Colorado’s San Luis Valley, involving over 100 students, scientists, engineers, pilots, and outreach coordinators. These groups conducted intensive field operations using unmanned aircraft and ground-based assets to develop comprehensive datasets spanning a variety of scientific objectives, including a total of nearly 1300 research flights totaling over 250 flight hours. This article introduces this campaign and lays the groundwork for a special issue on the LAPSE-RATE project. The remainder of the special issue provides detailed overviews of the datasets collected and the platforms used to collect them.