Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Aircraft Polar 5 finishes Arctic Expedition

04.05.2009
Unique measurement flights in the central Arctic completed

The Arctic campaign PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Intercomparison Project) ended yesterday in Ottawa with the participation of the research aircraft Polar 5.

The campaign which lasted four weeks yielded unique measurement data on sea ice thickness, trace gases, aerosols and meteorological parameters thanks to the great range of the aircraft and modern measurement equipment.

"We were out and about in mainly unchartered territory. Our most northerly position was 88°40' N. Flight operations of this kind require a high degree of proficiency and a lot of experience", reports Dr. Andreas Herber, physicist and in charge of the research aircrafts belonging to the Alfred Wegener Institute. The weather was mostly ideal for measurement purposes. Air temperatures below -30° C however posed a frequent challenge for the scientific equipment. 20 researchers and engineers from six different research institutes from Germany, Italy (CNR-ISAC Bologna), Canada (Environment Canada, University of Alberta, York City) and the USA (NOAA-ESRL Boulder) were participating, and they will evaluate the data in the coming months.

The flight of Polar 5, belonging to the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, led from Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen via Greenland and northern Canada up to Barrow in Alaska. Polar 5 landed also as the first aircraft ever on ice of two metres thickness at the position 87°40' N/117°00' W on the Russian ice floe drift station NP-36. The whole campaign was a success thanks to the close international collaboration and the extraordinary support at the research stations like Alert and Eureka.

A focal point of the campaign was on Arctic aerosols. An image of the aerosol distribution in the Arctic was produced by means of multiple vertical and horizontal profiles in low-level flight altitude (60 metres) and in normal flight altitude (3.000 metres). Aerosols belong, together with water droplets and ice crystals, to the climate relevant trace substances. They rank among the greatest uncertainty factors regarding the evaluation of future climate change. The measurements above the Arctic Ocean make the quantification of aerosol pollution of the Arctic clean air and its allocation to Asiatic, North American and European source regions possible. They are a realistic foundation for the much needed improvement of model computations for this inaccessible and for climate research essential region of the earth.

Another focal point of the campaign were large-scale measurements of ice thickness in the inner Arctic, which were conducted in close collaboration of the Alfred Wegener Institute together with the University of Alberta. An ice-thickness sensor, the so-called EM-Bird, was put into operation under a plane for the first time ever. To conduct the measurements, Polar 5 dragged the sensor which was attached to a steel cable of eighty metres length in a height of twenty metres over the ice cover. Multiple flights northwards from various stations showed an ice thickness between 2.5 (two years old ice in the vicinity of the North Pole) and 4 metres (perennial ice in Canadian offshore regions). All in all, the ice was somewhat thicker than during the last years in the same regions, which leads to the conclusion that Arctic ice cover recovers temporarily. The researchers found the thickest ice with a thickness of 15 metres along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island.

Another highlight of the campaign were atmospheric probes in the central Arctic and measurements of low level ozone and mercury concentrations over large areas of the sea ice-covered Arctic Ocean. The meteorological probes were conducted by means of drop sondes. They yielded shallow boundary layers in conjunction with pronounced temperature inversions and wind jets in the lowest 300 metres. These conditions probably favoured the near surface ozone concentration over the sea ice as measured by the team from Environment Canada, caused by a reaction with bromine oxide (BrO). The combination of all trace gas measurements by means of atmospheric probes will allow a better understanding of the processes of near surface ozone depletion in the Arctic.

This logistically demanding campaign with residence in four different riparian Arctic states was only possible due to the close international collaboration between all partners involved.

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and provides international science with important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>