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UND Receives $1M Atmospheric Research Contract from U.S. Navy

University of North Dakota (UND) has received a contract of just over $1 million to conduct research on behalf of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in an effort to improve the understanding of thunderstorms. The research combines aircraft measurements and observations with the United States Navy’s Mid-Course Doppler Radar (MCR) to develop better cloud models.

UND will be subcontracting with Fargo, N.D.-based Weather Modification International (WMI) in the use of its Cessna Citation II Research Aircraft – a modified jet previously owned by the University, until 2016.

For two weeks in July & August of 2019, WMI and UND will conduct between 20 and 30 hours of flying in thunderstorm anvils near Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Citation II aircraft can reach heights allowing a variety of cutting-edge probes to take measurements at the tops and centers of storms. Probes in use during this mission will measure essential atmospheric state parameters (temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure), but Delene highlights cloud size, concentration, habits, and total water content as key measurements.

“We’ll have several graduate students involved that will fly on the plane, run the data systems and make sure instruments are performing correctly during flights,” Delene said. “They’ll also process the data right after the flights and examine them. After the fieldwork for the project is over, it’s going to form the basis of multiple thesis projects.”

WMI has a strong history in the modification and operation of special mission aircraft in the fields of cloud seeding and atmospheric research. WMI provides world-class capabilities, professional staff and state of the art equipment when it comes to research aircraft, having worked with clients around the globe.

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