Observing desert dust devils with a pressure logger
A commercial pressure logger has been adapted for long-term field use. Its flash memory affords the large data volume to allow months of pressure measurements to be acquired at the rapid cadence (>1 Hz) required to detect dust devils, small dust-laden convective vortices observed in arid regions. The power consumption of the unit is studied and battery and solar/battery options evaluated for long-term observations. A two-month long field test is described, and several example dust devil encounters are examined. In addition, a periodic (~20 min) convective signature is observed, and some lessons in operations and correction of data for temperature drift are reported. The unit shows promise for obtaining good statistics on dust devil pressure drops, to permit comparison with Mars lander measurements, and for array measurements.