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Early warning sensor network for brown-out conditions : phase II - field testing and assessment.
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Early warning sensor network for brown-out conditions : phase II - field testing and assessment.
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    All three states within the SOLARIS (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico) domain as well as other states such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado have had traffic accidents with fatalities in recent years due to brownout conditions, where windblown dust is so thick that visibility is impaired and traffic safety is compromised. In the near-term, early warning sensor networks in specific portions of the roadway network where brownout events are known to occur could offer the most effective means to mitigate traffic accidents and deaths stemming from dust storms. This project has focused on developing a ground based early warning system for roadway brownout conditions. It is envisioned that this system would ultimately consists of multiple, networked nodes that are emplaced upstream of roadways with known or suspected brownout potential. The fact that the network is upwind of the roadway provides the ability to accurately gauge the onset of brownout conditions prior to the significant deterioration of visibility. The spatially distributed network design allows for identifying which source areas are the greatest contributors to brownout conditions. This information can be used over time to mitigate blowing dust from such source areas and reduce the occurrence of brownout conditions. This report covers the work effort during this phase of development, which focused on deploying the main sand sensing instrument, nicknamed the SANTRI™ (ES_Figure 1), at various locations and under varying conditions. The main objective was to conduct shortterm field trials of the sand movement sensing platform that could serve as part of an early warning brownout system. To that end, several SANTRI™ platforms were tested by three separate investigators in different field studies. Two SANTRI™ units (units #7 and #8) were delivered to Dr. David DuBois’ group at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) where they were deployed on campus and also on a playa setting. Two units (#5 and #6) were sent to Dr. Martina Klose, who was also at NMSU but who deployed the field instruments independently at the Jornada Experimental Range in New Mexico and other locations. Additionally, three units (#2, #3, and #4) were sent to the Netherlands as part of a different project in collaboration with Wageningen University to participate in an ongoing field study at a beach erosion site. Insights from the measurements in the Netherlands are complimentary to the two deployments in New Mexico, which were in more relevant settings for brownout condition detection.
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