Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology

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Dilling L.,Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology | Failey E.,Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Human land use contributes significantly to the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Changes in land management practices have been proposed as a critical and cost-effective mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the storage of additional carbon in vegetation and soils. However many discussions of the potential for land use to mitigate climate change only take into account biophysical factors such as vegetation and land cover and neglect how the agency of land owners themselves affects whether additional carbon storage can be achieved. Unlike many potential REDD opportunities in developing countries, land management in the U.S. to enhance carbon sequestration would occur against a backdrop of clearly defined, legally enforceable land ownership. In addition, more than a third of the land surface in the U.S. is managed by federal agencies who operate under legal guidelines for multiple use and is subject to demands from multiple constituencies. We set out to investigate how the goal of enhancing carbon sequestration through land use is perceived or implemented in one region of the U.S. , and how this goal might intersect the existing drivers and incentives for public and private land use decision making. We conducted a case study through interviews of the major categories of landowners in the state of Colorado, which represents a mixture of public and privately held lands. By analyzing trends in interview responses across categories, we found that managing for carbon is currently a fairly low priority and we identify several barriers to more widespread consideration of carbon as a management priority including competing objectives, limited resources, lack of information, negative perceptions of offsetting and lack of a sufficient policy signal. We suggest four avenues for enhancing the potential for carbon to be managed through land use including clarifying mandates for public lands, providing compelling incentives for private landowners, improving understanding of the co-benefits and tradeoffs of managing for carbon, and creating more usable science to support decision making. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop an instrument that enables continuous, autonomous surveillance of key meteorological parameters, i.e., temperature, humidity profiles, cloud liquid water path, and integrated water vapor. The Marine Profiling Radiometer (MPR) is designed for operation on a buoy, ship, or for land-based applications. Despite the increased utility of weather forecasts over the past decades, accuracy decreases rapidly as the scale of the weather features decreases and the time range of the forecasts increases. Forecasting the evolution and movement of smaller-scale, short-lived, often intense weather phenomena such as tornadoes, hail storms, and flash floods is less mature than prediction of larger-scale weather systems. This is caused, in part, by inadequate observations. The proposed technology will fill the missing gap in data. Phase I will develop a simplified prototype of MPR to experimentally validate new concepts of ambient calibration, as well as, a self-cleaning mechanism for protection of optical components. The novel calibration approach will enable standalone operation even under extreme weather conditions that can be encountered in harsh marine environments. The major innovation of this all-weather technology is its ability to provide otherwise un-obtainable data in a timely and cost effective manner. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is in demonstrating a novel approach to radiometer calibration that could lead to advancement in its use and dramatic improvement in the understanding of the thermodynamic state of the atmosphere, especially in the boundary layer. As 50% of the US population lives within 50 miles of the coast, better information about offshore conditions can have significant economical impact. Improved forecasts will benefit water management of reservoirs/coastal regions, can be used by commercial/military vessels to improve safety and enhance missile guidance system accuracy. MPR data will improve coastal meteorology, improve protection mechanisms and reducing evacuation costs for severe weather events; enhance our understanding of ocean-atmosphere interaction and provide information about regional climate change; reduce the cost associated with offshore wind farm and oil platform operation while improving overall safety; facilitate optimization of the electrical grid improving energy efficiency; enhance weather/dispersion model ensembles for homeland security applications; and provide current weather information to help ensure efficient and environmentally sound sea and port operations for commercial and recreational vessels.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is in improving and simplifying weather observations from various platforms, such as an unmanned aircraft, small satellites in orbit, a buoy in the middle of the ocean or from the ground, even in a remote location. The targeted customer for the radiometer receiver is anyone who desires a more detailed, localized, short term forecast. Such customers include meteorological organizations, both private and governmental, operators of renewable energy plants ? onshore and offshore wind farms or solar power plants, future unmanned or robotic aircrafts that observe the atmosphere, military, and others. Sensors built with these receivers can also contribute to remote detection of in-flight icing danger in general aviation. Our sensor will simplify observations from small aircraft, piloted or unmanned, thus allowing new observations of clouds, their water or ice content, and the local thermodynamic status of the atmosphere. Such observations will thus improve scientific understanding of clouds and their representation in climate and Earth system models. More broadly, this project represents a new technological concept of sub terahertz receiver design and assembly. Users of sub terahertz receivers include airport security (body scanners), short range high bit rate communications, industrial testing of paper, polymer, food, pharmaceutical and agriculture, and medical imaging.

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes the development of a novel, highly integrated, low power consuming, radiometer receiver operating around 183.31 GHz, in the vicinity of a water vapor absorption line. The receiver architecture was chosen to improve radiometer sensitivity, calibration accuracy, and reliability, while keeping its weight, size, and power consumption low. The goal of the effort is to develop a sensor that would enable wide spread weather observations. The receiver would be relatively easy to assemble, repair and its production cost would be low, especially for large quantities. The Phase I project is focused on a feasibility study of the receiver design. The major receiver components will be designed and their performance modelled. The anticipated result is a preliminary design of the whole receiver and characterization of its operational parameters.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

The proposed project will develop a lightweight, low volume and low power consuming sensor for accurate measurements of liquid water or ice water content of clouds, water vapor concentration and local thermodynamic state of the atmosphere. It will be capable to operate from a small unmanned aircraft system platform, with instrument weight less than 6 kg and power requirement of less than 150W. The observations of the Profiling Airborne Microwave Radiometer will improve understanding and representations of clouds in the climate and Earth system models, as well as their interaction and coupling with the Earth’s surface. Commercial application of this technology can significantly improve weather observation and thus local short term weather forecasts. Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology will develop an advanced, compact, low power and integrated radiometer receivers. These receivers, the heart and the most expensive part of a radiometer, will be integrated into an airborne radiometer system that could be installed on a small unmanned aircraft system platform. The Profiling Airborne Microwave Radiometer will operate autonomously and it will depend on an aircraft only for power. The instrument overall preliminary design will be finalized during Phase I. Two filters for the proposed direct detect radiometer receivers, a critical technology for overall instrument development success, will be designed, manufactured and bench tested. The development of filters that are easy to integrate and have proper characteristics for a radiometer operation will allow higher level of instrument integration and thus overcome significant limitations of current technologies. According to a study of the U.S. Department of Transportation there will be ~250,000 unmanned aerial systems within the U.S. airspace by 2035, of which ~175,000 will be in the commercial market place. The widening of the commercial use of drones will increase the demand for sensors, capable of operations on these platforms. One of the important and obvious application are in observations of a local weather. Such observations can improve the accuracy of severe storms warnings and improve local, short term weather forecast. Any business whose operations depend on the weather will benefit from improved forecast. Such businesses are agricultural, airports, seaports, renewable energy producers, electrical utilities, shipping companies, skiing resorts, search and rescue providers, and others. A novel technology for integration of microwave radiometers will be developed. It will enable a development of a small, low power, weather sensor for operation on a drone. A preliminary design of a new miniature sensor for improved weather observation, important for agricultural, aviation, renewable energy, and other businesses, will be developed during Phase I.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 155.00K | Year: 2016

The proposed project will develop a low cost marine atmospheric boundary layer profiler. The Marine Profiling Radiometer (MPR) will provide temperature and humidity profiles, indicative of the atmospheric stability, up to heights of 200 m and above. In addition, the radiometer will provide integrated water vapor and cloud liquid measurement. All these measurements will be provided at the rates appropriate for advanced rapid refresh weather modeling in order to improve characterization of the marine atmospheric boundary layer for offshore wind applications. The packaging, weight, power consumption and mode of operation of the MPR are designed for operation on a buoy. The addition of the MPR to an existing buoy with a lidar wind profiler, will make such a buoy a complete replacement of much more expensive meteorological masts. We are proposing the development of a robust, reliable, low power consuming radiometer hardened for operations close to the ocean surface and capable of working without maintenance for an extended period of time. In addition, the MPR will be capable of autonomous operation without requiring a manual calibration. With a support of a floating lidar buoy manufacturer we will work on the conceptual design of the MPR mechanical attachment to a buoy, the electrical power interface, and on the communication format between the buoy instrumentation and MPR, as well as on the data transfer to the shore. In order to improve the economy of the wind resource, the wind turbine sizes are increasing. The blades of the largest turbines are currently reaching 220 meters in height and their size is likely to grow in the future. As wind turbines grow in size, the rationale for using met towers alone is rapidly vanishing. A typical 60-meter meteorological tower introduces additional uncertainty at turbine hub heights and across the sweeping area. Since most 100-meter and taller meteorological towers are not cost-effective for project site assessment, remote sensing devices have to be developed for wind resource assessment, characterization and to improve the economy of operation of existing wind projects. Key Words: Microwave radiometer, thermodynamic state of the atmosphere, measurement of cloud liquid water, cloud ice content, humidity measurement, buoy radiometer, autonomous operation, marine atmospheric boundary layer temperature profile, humidity profile


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 80.00K | Year: 2014

This SBIR Phase I project proposes the design and prototype development of a compact microwave radiometer to be used as a remote sensor of inflight icing hazards, and will be capable of detecting and evaluating icing conditions in an aircrafts flight path. Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology will design a sensor that could be used on a number of different aircraft, will be reliable, robust, require minimal maintenance, and will be small and inexpensive. The Microwave Radiometer for Aviation Safety (MRAS) will provide data on air temperature and water vapor profiles as well as cloud liquid water content. It will be designed to distinguish between the phases of cloud particles (water/ice) ahead of the aircraft and issue an appropriate warning to the cockpit. We propose to design a very compact, practical instrument that will require minimal user attention, and will potentially utilize data from other available sources to improve hazard detection and to quantify hazard levels. Phase I project is focused on modeling and simulation of MRAS detection sensitivity in realistic atmospheric conditions, development of suitable hardware requiring minimal space, weight, power and cooling, preliminary design of a software algorithm and three dimensional preliminary mechanical design.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

SBIR Phase I Project proposes a new passive microwave airborne sensor for in flight icing hazard detection, Microwave Radiometer for Aviation Safety. A feasibility study of a relatively inexpensive, small in size, robust, energy efficient instrument with reliable calibration, easy to use, and with minimal maintenance requirement is proposed. Extensive radiative transfer modeling will be carried out. The results of modeling will be used to optimize instrument design, parameters such as frequency of operation, individual channels polarizations, scene sampling strategy (scanning mode), antennae beamwidths, and potential use of auxiliary data will be evaluated. Phase I objective is a preliminary three dimensional model of the instrument.


Grant
Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 95.00K | Year: 2012

Hyperspectral remote sensing in the microwave offers the opportunity to substantially improve the atmospheric information provided to numerical weather prediction data assimilation systems, enabling advancements in forecast skill. This Phase I project proposes a numerical study leading to selection of optimal channels for a space borne hyperspectral sensor. Based on the recommendations from a numerical modeling, a potential hardware implementation will be proposed. Phase II project will aim to build a prototype of a hyperspectal sensor, based on the design developed in Phase I. The prototype sensor will be ground-based and will address the technological challenges in hardware, such as reduced radiometer noise levels, local oscillator stability, antenna design, optimization of filters block, power, volume and cost requirements. Successful realization of the sensor will have applications not only to satellite instrument advancement, but also in ground-based passive microwave remote sensing.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is in improving and simplifying weather observations from various platforms, such as an unmanned aircraft, small satellites in orbit, a buoy in the middle of the ocean or from the ground, even in a remote location. The targeted customer for the radiometer receiver is anyone who desires a more detailed, localized, short term forecast. Such customers include meteorological organizations, both private and governmental, operators of renewable energy plants ? onshore and offshore wind farms or solar power plants, future unmanned or robotic aircrafts that observe the atmosphere, military, and others. Sensors built with these receivers can also contribute to remote detection of in-flight icing danger in general aviation. Our sensor will simplify observations from small aircraft, piloted or unmanned, thus allowing new observations of clouds, their water or ice content, and the local thermodynamic status of the atmosphere. Such observations will thus improve scientific understanding of clouds and their representation in climate and Earth system models. More broadly, this project represents a new technological concept of sub terahertz receiver design and assembly. Users of sub terahertz receivers include airport security (body scanners), short range high bit rate communications, industrial testing of paper, polymer, food, pharmaceutical and agriculture, and medical imaging. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes the development of a novel, highly integrated, low power consuming, radiometer receiver operating around 183.31 GHz, in the vicinity of a water vapor absorption line. The receiver architecture was chosen to improve radiometer sensitivity, calibration accuracy, and reliability, while keeping its weight, size, and power consumption low. The goal of the effort is to develop a sensor that would enable wide spread weather observations. The receiver would be relatively easy to assemble, repair and its production cost would be low, especially for large quantities. The Phase I project is focused on a feasibility study of the receiver design. The major receiver components will be designed and their performance modelled. The anticipated result is a preliminary design of the whole receiver and characterization of its operational parameters.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 155.00K | Year: 2013

This Phase I project proposes the development of a Marine Profiling Radiometer (MPR). The MPR is a passive microwave remote sensor capable to measure the stability of the marine boundary layer. Significant innovations in radiometer design, packaging, mode of operation, and calibration enable the MPR to operate in the unforgiving marine environment for an extended time without maintenance and user intervention. The buoy installed radiometer will provide thermodynamic profiles of the whole atmospheric column above the MPR. Temperature and water vapor profiles, integrated cloud liquid content and integrated water vapor are very important data inputs into rapid refresh weather models. Improved mesoscale weather forecasts have the potential to significantly improve the economy of the offshore wind resources. These forecasts can enable as well a better total production prediction and onshore electric grid load anticipation. In addition, a reliable forecast will prevent potential damages to the turbines, e.g., from excessive wind or freezing drizzle. As a part of the complementary infrastructure of the offshore wind industry, the data from the MPR will improve offshore and near shore forecasts thus enabling better wind resource integration into existing power grids. This will also allow better scheduling of maintenance or other work necessary to realize the potential of the offshore wind industry in the United States and abroad.

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