Falcon measurement campaigns
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With the aim to study properties of persistent contrails and their temporal evolution up to a few hours plume age, the PAZI-LAUNCH campaign will be conducted with the DLR Falcon in September 2005 in close collaboration with the LAUNCH field campaign.
LAUNCH (International Lindenberg campaign for assessment of humidity and cloud profiling systems and its impact on high-resolution modelling) is coordinated by the German Weather Service (DWD). The LAUNCH project aims at studying how numerical weather predictions can be improved from assimilation of data from ground-based atmospheric profiling. In September and October 2005 a range of ground-based instruments providing wind, aerosol and humidity profiles will be operated continuously from the Lindenberg Metorological Observatory of DWD near Berlin.
Within PAZI-LAUNCH it is planned that the DLR Falcon aircraft will undertake flight missions into the Lindenberg area under conditions where persistent contrails might form. The Falcon payload comprises in situ instrumentation to measure cirrus/contrail microphysical properties, ambient humidity, aerosol microphysical properties, and tracers to determine plume age.
The main objectives of the PAZI-LAUNCH campaign are:
The aim is to investigate contrails formed by passenger aircraft at typical cruise altitudes. Near Lindenberg two major flight routes merge, one in east-west and one in north-south direction. The Falcon flight missions can follow two strategies:
Contrail probing over Lindenberg. If contrails form upstream of the Lindenberg observation site, they will eventually pass over Lindenberg, if atmospheric conditions are such that the contrails are persistent. The Falcon will fly into the contrails over Lindenberg to provide in situ measurements of contrail properties concurrent with the ground-based profiling. Analysis of actual flight traffic data together with meteorological fields is needed to relate measured contrail properties to the aircraft which initially formed the contrail.
Contrail back tracking. The Falcon follows a passenger aircraft which creates a contrail and then tracks back the contrail passing through it as often as possible with increasing plume age.
Operation period for the Falcon for PAZI-LAUNCH is September 7-28, 2005. The Falcon will be operated from the home base in Oberpfaffenhofen. 10-20 flight hours are allocated for the PAZI-LAUNCH missions, roughly corresponding to 3-5 flights, depending on the success of the first mission flights and how often meteorological conditions are suitable for the formation of persistent contrails.
Falcon transfer time from Oberpfaffenhofen to the Lindenberg area is approx. 30 min, leaving roughly 2-3 flight hours for operation in the target area. Falcon flight missions will be conducted in close collaboration with air traffic control, with one DLR representative being present at the ATC center.
Flight planning for Falcon missions will be based on different tools:
forecasts of meteorological fields (wind field, vertical wind, temperature, humidity), based on ECMWF forecast data (and other sources), up to 48 hours ahead, and derived trajectories
derived from ECMWF data: forecasted regions of potential formation of persistent contrails (based on Schmidt-Appleman criterion)
MSG (Meteosat Second Generation) images (approx. 15 min near realtime), analysis with line shaped contrail recognition algorithm applied
flightplan data from ATC; for post-campaign analysis: actual flight traffic data from ATC
Flight planning will be based on briefings held daily at Oberpfaffenhofen. The intention is to allow for flight planning two days ahead. One day before flight mission the meteorological scenario of the day before can be re-evaluted and the contact to ATC established if a flight appears likely. At the day of flight a go/no-go decision will be made based on actual satellite products.
The Falcon instrumentation comprises instruments to measure in situ humidity, temperature, wind, cloud and aerosol microphysical properties as well as gas tracers (here to determine plume age). Click here for a complete list of instruments.
Dr. Andreas Minikin
DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre
phone +49-(0)8153-28-2538, fax +49-(0)8153-28-1841
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