The Environmental Physics group was founded in April 2010 and studies mainly atmospheric flows using automatically operating unmanned aircraft (UAV), measurement-station networks (rural valley and urban terrain), and numerical simulations (CFD). The group’s expertise lies in investigating turbulent exchange and transport processes in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), including momentum, heat, water vapour, CO2 and aerosol fluxes. Besides fundamental research, the group uses this expertise in various projects relating to wind-energy research, both off-shore and in complex terrain. The current generation of UAV (named MASC: Multi-Purpose Airborne Sensor Carrier) developed in Tübingen is designed for atmospheric boundary layer and wind-energy research, carrying fast turbulence sensors (up to 30 Hz) and a particle counter.
Wind energy in complex terrain
The project Lidar Complex was initiated by the research network WindForS. Its goals are the development of lidar technology in topographically complex terrain, improving understanding of wind fields over these environments, and the influence of these wind fields on wind turbines. Several campaigns were conducted in he Swabian Alb, and close to the Baltic Sea, using several comparative measurement systems. The UAV MASC is used to measure vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and wind, as well as turbulent structures up- and down-stream of a wind turbine.