Numerous instrument probes protrude from NASA's DC-8 Airborne Science flying laboratory as it flies an instrument checkout flight prior to the NCAR-NASA DC3 thunderstorm study. (NASA /Lori Losey)
Karl Froyd adjusts NOAA's Particle Analysis by Laser Mass Spectrometry, or PALMS, instrument prior to installation on NASA's DC-8 Airborne Science laboratory for the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry experiment. (NASA / Tom Tschida) NASA's DC-8 Airborne Science laboratory continues to fly around thunderstorm cores and through thunderstorm anvil clouds over the central United States as part of the Deep Convection Clouds and Chemistry atmospheric science campaign. The goal of the DC3 Earth science mission is to aid scientists' understanding of how large thunderstorms affect atmosphericchemistry and to assess the impact of deep convection on the upper tropospheric chemistry and composition.
Five science flights occurred between May 21 and May 30, all from a base of operations at Salina, Kan. NASA's DC-8 and a Gulfstream V operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Science Foundation were in the air simultaneously during each flight.
The May 25 mission focused on an isolated area of convection over the Texas Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma. Models predicted that sampled air would move east, so both aircraft flew an "aged" chemistry flight May 26 and the instruments gathered data on some of the same air that was sampled the day before to see how it eveolved.
On May 30, the DC-8 joined the Gulfstream V for instrument comparison southeast of Shawnee, Okla., where the two aircraft flew in formation for 56 minutes.
The five flights totaled 34.5 hours of science data collection over the states of Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
The DC3 campaign is being led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., with funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA.
NASA's DC-8 is scheduled to return to the Dryden Aircraft Operations facility in Palmdale, Calif., June 30.
Learn more about DC3 mission from the scientists' perspective.