The Mobile Integrated Profiling System (MIPS)

The MIPS platform was the first mobile platform to be developed at UAH. The development started in 1992 with the purchase of a 915 MHz radar wind profiler. By 1998, the MIPS platform was introduced and development began. The first iteration of the MIPS was completed in and included a 1999 Chevy Express Van which pulled a trailer packed with a 5-beam 915 MHz radar wind profiler (RWP), a 2-kHz sodar, a lidar ceilometer, and a 12-channel microwave profiling radiometer (MPR).

After many years of traveling across the nation (CAMEX, IHOP, BAMEX, MIRAGE, PLOWS, ABIDE, PECAN, VORTEX-SE, many hurricane deployments, several aerosol studies, and other local deployments), the MIPS system has been changed several times. While the types of instruments aboard MIPS has mostly stayed the same, upgrades over the years including truck, trailer, and instruments have made the MIPS system rugged, user-friendly, and comfortable. The current configuration includes an upgraded 915 MHz RWP, upgrader lidar ceilometer, 35-channel MPR, vertically pointing X-Band Profiling Doppler Radar (XPR), a telescoping 10-meter surface measurements tower (T and wind at 10 meters, pressure at 2 meters), optional Parsivel Disdrometer, and optional 4 kHz Doppler sodar. With these combined measurements, the MIPS has the capability to document high temporal boundary layer winds and thermodynamics, as well as precipitation and cloud/aerosol characteristics and kinematics through a variety of “wet” and “dry" conditions.

The current MIPS configuration.

Upgraded from the original 1999 Chevy Van that pulled the MIPS instrument, the MIPS truck is now a remodeled 2006 Chevrolet C4500 medium duty ambulance. The heavier duty truck guarantees that the heavy trailer full of instruments can be towed wherever the deployment may be, while also providing comfort and space for up to 4 personnel to work comfortably. The patient area of the cab has been converted to a full 9-computer screen workstation that holds electrical components and control computers (1 mac, 3 Linux machines, and 1 Windows machine). Mounted to the trailer are 4 hydraulic leveling jacks that provide optimal stabilization and leveling for deployments. Four hydraulic leveling jacks are also mounted to the truck to provide a level and stable workstation.

Inside MIPS while deployed for hurricane Laura (2020).

Two VHF mobile radios are located inside MIPS (one located at the driver’s seat for driving and one located in the rear for communications when operational). A 10 kW diesel generator is used to power the instruments and equipment onboard MIPS. A 50-gallon diesel fuel tank is mounted underneath the trailer that can be used to refuel the generator for longer deployments. Switches and a fuel gauge located inside the work area of MIPS removes the need for personnel to go outside to monitor or refuel the generator. A 30,000 BTU a/c unit was recently mounted to the truck which provides more than adequate heated or cooled air to both personnel and computers. With the capacity to fit four personnel, multiple operating systems, and ability to quickly communicate with others in the field, the MIPS platform can serve as a mobile operations center.

The MIPS Instruments:

MIPS on display at the 2014 AMS Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

MIPS set up for the 2017 Solar Eclipse in Kentucky.

MIPS deployed in Buffalo, NY for lake effect snow.