Low and Hazy Over Fresno
Low and Hazy Over Fresno

Reporter Tim Sheehan of the Fresno Bee took this photo through the NASA P-3B's cock-pit window as they flew over Fresno, Calif. on Jan. 22, showing a very hazy atmosphere over the area. Sheehan tagged along with the DISCOVER-AQ crew for one day of the flights through California's Central Valley - from Palmdale to Fresno and back. DISCOVER-AQ is a field campaign to improve the ability of space-based instruments to distinguish between air pollution high in the atmosphere and that near the surface where people live and breathe.

During the DISCOVER-AQ flights, the NASA P-3B flies as low as 1,000 feet and conducts spiral maneuvers over six ground sites in the region. These spiral maneuvers involve the aircraft circling from 1,000 feet to almost 10,000 feet and back down again to measure air quality at each altitude. The NASA B-200 flies high above the NASA P-3B at nearly 26,000 feet.

Sheehan experienced first-hand the effects that flying the spiral maneuvers can have on the body. He tweeted, "It's the low-to-high spirals and G-force that are the most disquieting to my system. Happy I took some Dramamine this a.m."

The California 2013 leg of the DISCOVER-AQ field mission continues through mid-February 2013. Future campaigns for the mission are scheduled for later in 2013 and in 2014.

+ Read Sheehan's account of his experience flying with the DISCOVER-AQ team: http://www.fresnobee.com

Page Last Updated: August 14th, 2013
Page Editor: Katie Bethea