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First measurement flight: Research aircraft HALO explores trade wind clouds

Which climate effects do clouds have? Under what conditions will they warm or awesome the climate? Today, after greater than 5 years of preparation, the specifically outfitted research aircraft HALO (Thin Air and Lengthy Range Research Aircraft) will take off because of its first measurement flight in atmospheric research. Prof. Bjorn Stevens and Dr. Lutz Hirsch in the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) leave Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany for any ten-hour flight to Barbados.

They'll operate numerous calculating instruments aboard HALO with respect to the German atmospheric research: "Each day we've eagerly looked forward to," states Stevens. "It's the initial pursuit to exploit the novel abilities of HALO to determine vertical profiles of aspects of atmospheric water -- like vapor, liquid and ice, both in cloud and precipitation forms, along with the aerosol contaminants where cloud tiny droplets form -- from the thin air. A brand new era of airborne atmospheric research." The aircraft, outfitted with a lot of advanced technology, is definitely an initiative by German climate and environment research institutions (see below) and it is run by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The flight belongs to the NARVAL project (Next-generation Aircraft Remote-Realizing for Validation Studies) and can supply the researchers with increased more information around the metabolic rate of tropical clouds (Fig. 1). The transatlantic plane tickets from Oberpfaffenhofen to Barbados will complement the stationary dimensions from the cloud observatory on Barbados. The collected data will lead to some better knowledge of cloud and precipitation processes and will assist you to reduce questions in climate models.

Remote realizing instruments, situated within the "Belly Pod" beneath the aircraft?s shell, will identify vertical profiles of humidity and temperature and also the distribution of tiny droplets and aerosols (Fig. 2). Furthermore, so-known as dropsondes is going to be launched throughout the flight. These radiosondes usually ascend from Earth with the aid of a weather balloon and perform dimensions enroute with the atmosphere. This time around, they'll be came by parachute and can glide back down.

The very first measurement flight is really a joint project from the MPI-M using the Meteorological Institute from the College Hamburg, DLR, Colleges of Perfume, Leipzig and Heidelberg and also the Forschungszentrum J?lich. It will require the researchers on the lengthy-haul flight to Barbados, in which the MPI-M cloud observatory is situated, and back. Ideally, comparison dimensions using the satellite CloudSat is going to be carried out throughout the plane tickets. The satellite measures the Atlantic clouds in trajectories crosswise towards the flight route. Short plane tickets of HALO in parallel using these satellite trajectories have the ability to ensure the satellite?s dimensions (Fig. 3): the aircraft flies in a lower altitude compared to satellite and may therefore identify the clouds a lot more accurate.

As a whole, the environment route Oberpfaffenhofen -- Barbados and back ought to be flown three occasions in December 2013 ("NARVAL South"). Throughout the 2nd flight, a nearby flight from Barbados eastward with the trade wind clouds is planned. The goal would be to identify clouds which are directly at risk of the Barbados cloud observatory and also to do a comparison towards the land-based cloud observatory data.

The 2nd area of the mission is going to be completed underneath the direction from the College Hamburg in The month of january ("NARVAL North"). HALO depends on Iceland to look at the backsides of fronts within the North Atlantic. The quantity of precipitation around the backsides of fronts is really a questionable subject in science because satellite findings and model information provide spun sentences. "Measured values are missing?? because ships don't sail during these typical storm zones" states principal investigator Prof. Felix Ament in the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), College of Hamburg. "A effective HALO mission could provide important details and eliminate a 'blank spot' into the spotlight of science."

The study aircraft HALO is definitely an initiative by German climate and environment research institutions. HALO is funded by: Federal Secretary of state for Education and Research (BMBF), German Research Foundation (DFG), Helmholtz Association, Max Planck Society, Leibniz Association, Free Condition of Bavaria, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Package), GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Forschungszentrum J?lich and German Aerospace Center (DLR)


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