It has been almost one month and the second phase of SouthTRAC has come to an end. HALO, after flying to Buenos Aires and then to Cape Verde is since today back home in Oberpfaffenhofen. Once the aircraft left, we packed everything in the hangar and then headed to the city for a last minute souvenir shopping (especially dulce de leche, a typical sweet from Argentina). We also had a farewell dinner, to celebrate the fruitful campaign and say bye to all the colleagues from the different universities and research centers.

SouthTRAC was a successful campaign during which we could sample gravity waves, determine trace gas structures, probe aged air masses and study the exchange troposphere – stratosphere, among others. We go back to Germany with lots of interesting data that we will continue analyzing to learn more and more about our atmosphere.

As a farewell, here a selection of pictures from our staying in Argentina.

 HALO, Desdemona wreck and guanaco. Pictures by Joern Ungermann, Forschungszentrum Juelich


Hi everybody! Long time without posting, since the WISE campaign back in 2017.

This year I joined the second phase of SouthTRAC and I am mainly helping with the ground control of the GLORIA instrument. This means monitor from ground what GLORIA is doing during the flights and write down any relevant information about its performance and the meteorological situation.

However, I won’t continue talking about my work here, but about some of the social activities in which we have participated. These activities are important because we can communicate what we are doing here and why (as Markus explained in his first post Welcome to the SouthTRAC campaign).

One event was the so called The Armada day. As you know, we are in the naval air base at Rio Grande and that day we gave a presentation to all the personal working here about the main goals of SouthTRAC, a quick overview about the instruments, and of course, they could also have a closer look to HALO. People were very curious about our work here and it was a very positive experience to explain all about it.

Presentation Armada Day. Picture by Jens-Uwe Grooss, Forschungszentrum Juelich

The second activity of this phase was the visit of HALO to Punta Arenas, Chile. There, some of our colleagues met with scientists of different Chilean institutes that cooperate in SouthTRAC and also gave an interview to the local newspapers.

Other event was an interview in Spanish in the radio of the National University of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and Islands of the southern Atlantic (UNTDF for its initials in Spanish). The program is mainly about astrophysics but they also include topics related to the atmosphere. For the program of last Wednesday, Dr. Tomás Rafael Bolaño Ortiz and I were invited. Tomás is a researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina (CONICET for its initials in Spanish), who is also cooperating in the campaign. His research consists in evaluating the atmospheric aerosols effect on the snow melting in the Central Andes. During the program we had a lot of fun learning about the life of Tycho Brahe and talking about our work.

Hope you enjoyed this post, another one coming very soon!

On 29 January 1833, Charles Darwin sailed on the HMS Beagle through the strait now known as the Beagle channel. Sailing on this ship, Darwin came to his first ideas on evolution – for which he became famous. Nowadays this very channel forms the border between Argentina and Chile. We decided on our day off to retrace his ‘steps’ by taking a sailing trip in the Beagle Channel.

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You will agree with me there is nothing more infuriating than working on a computer and suddenly the blue screen appears, leading to a restart… The infamous “Blue screen of Death”… Most people (including me) are extremely outraged by this and their rage frequently results in a ferocious shout, a slap on the desk or even a kick aimed at the computer box. Now imagine this, except this computer, is the ‘brain’ of your instrument that is worth about 1 000 000 Euros AND has data of 3 flights which you hope to use in your PhD… Need I say more!

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After a brief 2 week ‘vacation’ at home we are on our way back to Rio Grande. You might wonder why do I call it ‘vacation’? Especially since the last two weeks were spent working at Forschungszentrum again…? It seems that I have been spending so much time in Argentina and so little time in Germany, that Argentina almost feels more home nowadays…

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Our time here in Argentina is drawing to a “pause”… The end of the first campaign is within sight and most of our teams are on their way home. We, however, still have 2 weeks left in Argentina, what is work without a little bit of play?? But I leave our holiday plans for the next post, first I will say a bit about the last couple of days…

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Another nightshift… It’s 3 AM and I have to stand outside in the cold to have a mere feeling of being awake. Coffee is not doing its job anymore, I ran out of Mate Tea (for those of you who don’t know, Mate is a local tea from Argentina with half as much caffeine as coffee but with supposedly double the buzz…) and I still have 3 hours of my shift left…

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