PCAR supports fundamental and applied research in atmospheric sciences, distributed sensing, and hazard mitigation


Wake vortex from airplane

Infrasound Sensing and Wake Vortices

Wake vortices from large aircraft are a major factor limiting landing and take-off capacity at commercial airports. This has implications for cost, fuel efficiency, and airport operations. One way to increase landing capacity is to reduce the distance between departing and arriving aircraft. Such decrease in distance comes with the risk of unsafe runway conditions in the case that the wake vortices from a preceding aircraft have not sufficiently dissipated.

Car in flooded underpass

Predicting High Winds and Floods

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of rain and wind producing storms with measurable impacts on infrastructure, water resource management, warning communications, and public safety. These challenges can be mitigated by new multi-sensor, high-resolution sensing that can identify short-, medium-, and long-term risks and communicate these new kinds of risks effectively for public safety and economy.  Using a combination of nowcasting and machine learning methods, we are partnering with industry to combine high resolution pressure, temperature, and humidity fields with high-resolution radar data to provide geographically targeted forecasts of rain intensity and high winds.

Drone flying in rainy conditions

UAV Path Planning under Weather Uncertainty

Among various considerations that affect path planning, weather may have the most significant impact, as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are sensitive to weather conditions such as wind, temperature, and precipitation. Our objective is to address this need by developing a decision support system for UAV path planning under the consideration of stochastic weather evolution.

Our proposed model is dynamic and data-driven, and allows for safe and effective path planning while also minimizing any involved costs during each mission.

Interface showing alerts for UAV demo flight


Developed through NSF funding, CityWarn is a next-generation, context-aware warning and prediction platform that links high-resolution data to warning, response, and impact.