The SouthTRAC campaign is a joint atmospheric research project by German research centres and universities within the DFG HALO-SPP 1294 framework.

HALO with ALIMA laser beam in Oberpfaffenhofen (EDMO). Photo: C. Michael Volk/desktoppapers.co. Photo editing: A. Marsing

In late 2019, the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft “HALO” is relocated to Tierra del Fuego (Río Grande) at the southern tip of South America, in order to perform atmospheric measurements of meteorological quantities and trace gases at southern hemispheric mid- and high-latitudes.

The aircraft is equipped with a set of 13 instruments which allow to study the atmospheric state, composition and dynamical parameters by in-situ sampling and down-, up- and sideways-pointing remote sensing.

The extensive aircraft campaign is conducted in two phases taking place in September and November 2019, respectively, covering the late winter and spring season. HALO returns to Germany between both phases. The four transfer flights between Europe and South America are used to study interhemispheric differences and exchange.

The Antarctic Peninsula as seen from onboard HALO. Photo: A. Marsing

The HALO measurements are accompanied by ground-based measurements (e.g., lidar, radar, radiosondes) and measurements onboard a glider operating from El Calafate. Meteorological and chemical forecast models provide information about local weather, atmospheric circulation, and trace gas distributions necessary for precise flight planning. These activities include contributions from local groups in South America, USA, and other European institutions outside the HALO community.

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