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!

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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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

WISE campaign in Shannon, Ireland, 2017. (

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