Scientists have successfully studied the formation of clouds and precipitation above the Brazilian rainforest with the research aircraft HALO.
"Please buckle up. We are flying through an area with strong turbulence.” Some passengers might be petrified by such an announcement, but the atmosphere and climate researchers from Germany, Brazil and Israel were delighted last month to hear these words.
Inside view of the HALO research aircraft. The scientists busy at work tracking their measurements.
Meinrat O. Andreae, MPI für Chemie
Within the framework of a large-scale expedition, more than 60 scientists explored high rising cloud towers above the Amazon rainforest with the research aircraft HALO. The aim of the ACRIDICON-CHUVA measuring campaign was to find out how gases and aerosol particles, cloud drops and ice crystals, wind and solar radiation interact in the atmosphere and thus influence the formation and properties of clouds and precipitation, as well as their impact on the climate.
In 14 measuring flights, leaving from Manaus, Brazil, the researchers flew over the rainforest for about seven hours each and high into the atmosphere. In this context, the aircraft often flew into so-called convective clouds, the term which the meteorologists use for ascending rain and storm clouds. The researchers had a combination of innovative and high-performance measuring instruments on board, which determine the composition and the physical-chemical properties of air and clouds.
Special focus was on the differences between clouds in clean air above the rainforest, and polluted air above Manaus, a city with over one million residents, and areas of deforestation and biomass burning.
“Among other things, we want to understand the influence of pollution on the formation of clouds,” says Meinrat O. Andreae from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. “When large areas of forest are burnt down, huge amounts of smoke particles are created which rise into the atmosphere and influence cloud formation.”
“Polluted clouds contain much more water droplets than clean clouds, however, the droplets are a lot smaller,” says Manfred Wendisch from the Leipzig Institute for Meteorology of the Leipzig University, explaining the first results. Therefore, polluted clouds form rain less quickly and appear brighter, as smaller droplets reflect more sunlight than larger ones.
“On the HALO ACRDICON-CHUVA flights, for the first time, we were able to simultaneously measure and comprehensively characterize the chemical composition and microphysical properties of cloud particles, aerosol particles and trace gases in high convective clouds,” says Ulrich Pöschl from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, who coordinates the research project together with Meinrat Andreae, Manfred Wendisch and Luiz Machado from the Brazilian research institute INPE.
“This makes it possible to record the process of cloud formation in more detail and to better understand and forecast the impact of air pollution on weather and climate.” However, it is still too early for quantitative statements on how the observed effects impact on the climate in the Amazonian rainforest and globally, as the researchers still need to analyze and assess the enormous amounts of data.
In addition to the enthusiasm for the unique scientific data, which the research aircraft HALO collected on its five-week assignment overseas, all participants were very happy that the measuring campaign could finally go ahead after many years of preparation and despite difficult logistical conditions. This would not have been possible without the close cooperation with the Brazilian partners.
Research flights near big storm cells, leading into larger cloud formations, are a pretty unusual task for the test pilots of the German Aerospace Center DLR which operates HALO. "The measurement flights are up to now the most complex flight operations for HALO," says DLR test pilot Steffen Gemsa. "Particularly challenging aeronautically were the repeated overflights of cumulus clouds and of efflux areas of highreaching tropical thunderstorm clouds."
The pilots flew five different scientific basic flight patterns at low altitudes over the Brazilian rainforest. In addition, they went up to extreme altitudes of nearly 15 kilometers. For these flights, the aircraft overcame regular temperature differences of more than 100 degrees Celsius. While the ground often reaches temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius, temperatures in the upper troposphere are around minus 65 degrees Celsius.
A lot of maintenance work on the aircraft and the measuring instruments needed to be dealt with, but no major technical problems occurred despite the tropical temperatures and turbulences. And all scientists on the aircraft also landed safely back on the ground.
About the ACRDIDICON - CHUVA measuring campaign
The abbreviation stands for Aerosol, Cloud, Precipitation, and Radiation Interactions and Dynamics of Convective Cloud Systems “(ACRIDICON)” and Portuguese word for “rain” (CHUVA).
Numerous images and a journal of the ACRIDON-CHUVA measuring campaign can be found on the following websites:
The German-Brazilian ACRIDICON-CHUVA research project is carried out in close cooperation with the Brazilian rain research project CHUVA, the US-Brazilian atmosphere research project GO-Amazon and the international Amazon research project LBA:
The following institutes are directly involved in the ACRIDICON-CHUVA project:
The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC), the Leipzig University, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Research Institute Jülich (FZJ), the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), the Federal Institute for Physics and Technology (PTB), the Frankfurt University, the Heidelberg University, the Munich University and the Mainz University from Germany. The contribution of the university partners are financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Additional partners include the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel as well as the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), the Centro Técnico Aeroespacial (CTA), the Sistema de Proteção da Amazônia (SIPAM) and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) from Brazil.
About the research aircraft HALO:
The HALO research aircraft is a collective initiative by German environment and climate research bodies. HALO is funded by contributions from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF), the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG), the Helmholtz Association, the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Association, the Free State of Bavaria, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the German Research Centre for Geosciences (Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum; GFZ), the Jülich Research Centre (Forschungszentrum Jülich) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
JOINT PRESS RELEASE OF THE MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR CHEMISTRY AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LEIPZIG
Prof. Dr. Meinrat O. Andreae and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Pöschl
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
(Otto Hahn Institute)
Prof. Dr. Manfred Wendisch
Leipzig Institute for Meteorology
University of Leipzig
Stephan str. 3
Tel.: +49 (0) 341/97-32851
Fax: +49 (0) 341/97-32899
Dr. Susanne Benner | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union
UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences