September 8, 2011
Researchers Produce First Map Of Greenhouse Gas In The Atmosphere
Researchers say that a series of pole-to-pole science flights has produced the first global portrait of the distribution of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Research flights were conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
The three-year series of flights enabled researchers to generate the first detailed mapping of the global distribution of gases and particles that affect Earth's climate, according to an NCAR press release.
"Tracking carbon dioxide and other gases with only surface measurements has been like snorkeling with a really foggy mask," Britton Stephens, an NCAR scientist and one of the project's principal investigators, said in the press release.
Steven Wofsy of Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences said with the science flights, "we now have views of whole slices of the atmosphere."
The campaign used a specially equipped Gulfstream V Aircraft owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by NCAR.
The aircraft featured a suite of specially designed instruments to sample a broad range of atmospheric constituents.
Researchers used the flight to measure and record over 150 gases and particles in the atmosphere. They flew at altitudes varying between 1,000 and 45,000 feet above sea level.
Image Caption: NSF's Gulfstream V aircraft, or HIAPER, in Anchorage, Alaska, during a HIPPO mission. Credit: UCAR, Carlye Calvin
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