Diabatic processes lead to material modification of air mass properties, so that additional insight can be obtained by observing the same air mass multiple times over a period of several days. Incorporating this observational strategy will potentially add value to all scientific objectives. A tracking of air masses allows the quantification of changes to PV and other properties along the flow and gives direct insight into physical processes, e.g. by the ability to assess the cloud microphysical evolution in WCB air parcel.
However the tracking of air masses is challenging as it requires highly complex flight planning. It needs trajectory forecasts from first flight leg to determine path of the next flight. Especially, since flight planning needs to be finalized 1-3 days in advance, the forecast might be incorrect. In addition, the "forward projected flight path" may not be technically/administratively feasible. Schäfler et al. (2014) provide examples of these difficulties and the tools available to overcome them.
|Lagrangian Tracking of disturbances|
|Schematic flight plan:|