NOAA Makes Key Ozone Measurements Aboard the HAIPER Aircraft

December 27, 2005

In November and December, members of the Meteorological Chemistry Group of the NOAA/ESRL Chemical Sciences Division joined in a cooperative effort with members of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to make measurements of ozone on the new NSF HIAPER aircraft. The measurements were made in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, an atmospheric region that is important for issues related to climate as well as the depletion of the ozone layer.


HIAPER designates the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research, which is a new Gulfstream V (GV) jet modified for airborne remote and in-situ sampling instruments. The GV aircraft has high altitude (50,000 ft) and long-range (11,000 km) performance specifications. NOAA's ozone instrument was invited to be part of the payload for the Stratosphere-Troposphere Analyses of Regional Transport (START) Experiment, which is one of the initial science programs involving HAIPER. The goals of START include characterizing the dynamical structure of the extratropical tropopause region in and around the subtropical jet using measurements of dynamical and chemical tracers.

In research over the last 15 years, NOAA's ozone instrument has made in-situ measurements on more than 300 total flights of the NASA ER-2 and WB-57F high-altitude aircraft. Those measurements have made significant contributions to scientific understanding of ozone depletion (especially in polar regions) and in climate-related chemistry and radiation studies. After successful payload integration on board HAIPER, the NOAA ozone instrument made its "maiden voyages" aboard this new platform in test flights and science flights in November and December 2005. Ozone measurements were acquired on a total of 8 flights comprising 65 hours.


NOAA's ozone measurements in these flights addressed NOAA objectives within the Climate Program and associated with the Atmospheric Composition and Climate Project of the Office of Global Programs. In addition, they were a critical contribution to meeting the scientific goals of NOAA scientists and their colleagues working together in the START program. The November-December flights demonstrated the promise of HAIPER as a unique sampling platform available to the high-altitude sampling community.