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…
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…
(Ex-)Hurricane Ophelia kept us busy the last days. IEK-7 campaign seem to attract natural catastrophies. Or is it that we are going wherever the weather is exceptional? No-one knows… However, we found ourselfs in the middle of national weather warnings from Sunday midday onwards. According to the NOAA Hurricane Center, Ophelia was the easternmost hurricane in the Northern Atlantic on record. Of course, being the dedicated climate researchers we are, we had to take the chance to probe the hurricane in front of our doorstep.
One major goal in the WISE campaign is to follow the time evolution of air masses in the UTLS (upper troposphere-lower stratosphere) and to see how they are affected by tropopheric-stratospheric exchange. The latest (and upcoming) research flights are planned to provide an idea of exacty this time evolution. Flight 10 last Saturday was targeting a feature in the West-Atlantic with the plan to probe the same air again in later flights. At the moment, HALO is on its way to catch it now, two days later close to the Norwegian border.
There are some very nice things you can spot from a plane. Not only clouds and the ant farms that actually are cities but also atmospheric phenomena. I have seen for the first time a “Glory” on my way to Ireland. On top, a colleague (Peter Hoor from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) took a very nice picture of so-called “Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities” on a research flight with HALO last week. So I just wanted to show you the pictures here and give you a short explanation on what it is.
To prepare for a research flight takes quite some time and involves many people. It starts in general 3-4 days in advance when some scientist sit together over the forecasts and think about the most interesting atmospheric situations to probe. Two days in advance they hand over a preliminary flight plan to the HALO flight operations team. These colleagues from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) talk to Air Traffic Control (ATC). A day in advance this preliminary flight plan is updated with the recent forecast.
Yesterday evening at 19:28 (German time), HALO with the WISE instruments onboard landed at Shannon airport. The flight from the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen was used not only as a transfer but to investigate some of the WISE scientific goals on the way. Therefore instead of going to Shannon directly, the transfer was enlonged to a 10-hour research flight passing by Southern Norway, up north beyond the polar circle and coming down over Iceland. Eventually, a hexagonal flight pattern for tomographic evaluation was added above the North Atlantic crossing over from Iceland to Ireland.
Just about a month after the successful StratoClim campaign is over, there is the next measurement campaign with IEK-7 participation “taking off” at the moment… so welcome to WISE! During the next 5 weeks, Irene, Isabell, Lukas and me (Conny) will keep you posted here in the blog about what is going on with our instruments on-board of HALO.
Today I will show you a bit around and tell you what we do besides preparing scientific flights. This post will be mainly a collection of pictures. At the end today’s HALO flight will be presented shortly.
Two scientific flights were successfully performed in the last days. Now HALO will get its deserved Christmas break. Also the teams are in need for some days off. Due to unforeseen problems some of them had to work around the clock for the last two weeks. Everybody is relieved, that most of the instruments could earn valuable data. The GLORIA team from Jülich and Karlsruhe will get some homework to think about during the holidays as the instrument is unfortunately still not performing as expected. Nevertheless, we are confident to solve the problems for the campaign phase in Sweden.