Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Airborne campaign preparing to probe pollution-climate link

Date:
July 31, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
The floor of a NASA hangar and an adjacent laboratory in Southern California's high desert have been in constant motion this month as scientists prepare their instruments for installation on two of the agency's specialized science aircraft that will begin a major NASA airborne science campaign in early August.

A number of atmospheric probes are installed along the fuselage of NASA's DC-8 in preparation for the SEAC4RS study to learn more about how air pollution and natural emissions affect climate change.
Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida

The floor of a NASA hangar and an adjacent laboratory in Southern California's high desert have been in constant motion this month as scientists prepare their instruments for installation on two of the agency's specialized science aircraft that will begin a major NASA airborne science campaign in early August.

Technicians and maintenance personnel at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., weigh, install, check, remove and reinstall the instruments prior to a flight dedicated to checking out their operation. The aircraft, a modified DC-8 jetliner and a high-flying ER-2, are being fitted with an eclectic assortment of sensors in preparation for a mission to study how the vertical convection of air pollution and natural emissions affect climate change.

The NASA Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys mission -- SEAC4RS for short -- is the agency's most complex airborne science study of 2013. Funded by the Earth Science division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the field campaign draws together coordinated observations from NASA satellites, aircraft and an array of ground sites.

The DC-8 is a former commercial airliner that was heavily modified by NASA to serve as a flying laboratory more than 25 years ago. Researchers on the aircraft monitor their instruments and watch live data stream to laptops while the aircraft flies at altitudes between 1,000 and 42,000 feet.

The flying laboratory will be the research "home" to 31 instruments, some with unusual titles like hygrometer, chromatograph, spectroradiometer, and sun photometer. These and other instruments will study trace gases, black carbon, cloud particles and formaldehyde along with other airborne chemicals that contribute to pollution during the mission that runs Aug. 10 through Oct. 1.

The aircraft doesn't look like a traditional sleek airliner on the outside. A number of probes stick out along the sides like porcupine quills through special windows, while equipment racks block other windows. Laser ports from the top and underside are covered until used.

Near the DC-8 is NASA's ER-2 high-altitude science aircraft where technicians are uploading 15 specialized instruments tucked in the aircraft's equipment bays and on the wings. These sensors include a "pushbroom" camera, a broadband radiometer, a gas analyzer, a lidar and a scanning polarimeter. The sensors will collect data about water vapor, turbulence, terrestrial and atmospheric processes, cloud aerosols, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.

NASA's ER-2 is a single-seat, single-engine aircraft similar to the Air Force's U-2S aircraft. The plane flies for up to eight hours at altitudes above 65,000 feet. Due to the challenges of flight at such high altitudes, ER-2 pilots wear a bulky pressure suit designed to protect them. The altitude is ideal for sampling of chemicals and other phenomena that are pushed into the upper atmosphere by large storms.

Once the aircraft depart for the SEAC4RS base at Ellington Field near Houston, those personnel left behind at Dryden will be traveling to support the aircraft participating in the SEAC4RS study, while facilitating an opportunity for the scientists to learn more about the characteristics of pollution movement during the hot U.S. summer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Airborne campaign preparing to probe pollution-climate link." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731114005.htm>.
NASA. (2013, July 31). Airborne campaign preparing to probe pollution-climate link. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731114005.htm
NASA. "Airborne campaign preparing to probe pollution-climate link." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731114005.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins