Field Project Education & Public Outreach

Essential to EOL's mission is to share the element of discovery during the field campaigns we support. EOL strives to provide a multifaceted program that is engaging for the next generation of scientists and engineers, and informative to the general public. A unique education and public outreach program is developed for a sub-set of our field campaigns to openly communicate the cycle of discovery that intrinsically unfolds during the planning, deployment, and analysis phases of atmospheric science research.

EOL systems support a wide-range of research areas, including:

  • studies of boundary layer
  • mesoscale dynamics and severe weather
  • aerosols and cloud physics; precipitation
  • atmospheric chemistry; radiation
  • air-sea interactions
ORCAS 2016 :: O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean Study

A study to advance our understanding of the physical and biological controls on air-sea exchange of O2 and CO2 in the Southern Ocean

The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) Study is an NSF sponsored airborne field campaign with research flights planned from Punta Arenas, Chile during January and February of 2016. 

The Southern Ocean plays a dominant role in the uptake of anthropogenic carbon yet this process is poorly represented by models and its future trajectory remains highly uncertain. ORCAS will advance our understanding of the physical and biological controls on air-sea exchange of O2 and CO2 in the Southern Ocean. This will be achieved through intensive airborne surveys of atmospheric O2, CO2, related gases, and ocean surface properties over diverse biogeochemical regions adjacent to the southern tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.

 » Learn more about ORCAS

PECAN 2015 :: Plains Elevated Convection at Night

A study to advance the understanding of continental, nocturnal, warm-season precipitation

PECAN was focused on nocturnal convection in conditions over the Southern Great Plains with a stable boundary layer (SBL), a nocturnal low-level jet (NLLJ) and the largest CAPE (Convectively Available Potential Energy) located above the SBL. Thunderstorms are most common after sunset across this region in summer and much of the resulting precipitation falls from mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Nocturnal MCSs may produce heavy rainfall; their intensity is correlated with the NLLJ. To date, an accurate prediction and an in-depth understanding of elevated convection in this environment remains an elusive goal.

 » Learn more about PECAN

WINTER 2015 :: Wintertime investigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity

A study to characterize wintertime emissions and chemical processes in the Northeastern U.S.

WINTER, which stands for Wintertime Investigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity, was an atmospheric chemistry project studying the emissions and fate of pollutants during winter across the eastern U.S.  WINTER used the NSF/NCAR C-130 research aircraft, a flying laboratory, to conduct research flights in the Northeast Urban Corridor, the Ohio River Valley, and the Southeast Mid-Atlantic regions from 1 February - 15 March 2015. Flight operations were based at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

 » Learn more about WINTER

FRAPPÉ 2014 :: Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Éxperiment

A study to characterize and understand summertime air quality in the Northern Front Range Metropolitan Area (NFRMA)

Despite efforts to limit emissions, the NFRMA is still experiencing air quality problems and is exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone on a regular basis in summer. The complex meteorology and the mix of diverse pollution sources present challenges with respect to characterizing, modeling and forecasting the transport and photochemical processes contributing to local air quality. In addition, long-range transport of pollution into the area and its impact on surface AQ is poorly characterized, as is the effect of NFRMA outflow on its surroundings.

The objective of FRAPPÉ is to determine the factors that control NFRMA ground-level ozone and improve our understanding of these processes so as to develop better models and support informed decision making.

 » Learn more about FRAPPÉ

DEEPWAVE 2014 :: Deep Propagating Wave Experiment Over New Zealand

A study of deeply propagating gravity waves form the Earth's surface to the mesosphere

DEEPWAVE is an atmospheric science research project studying the dynamics of gravity waves from the surface of the Earth to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. DEEPWAVE is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research, and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center DLR, NIWA, UK Met Office, NZ MetService, NRL, and Australian Antarctic Division. The project is led by Principal Investigators from several US universities and research centers as well as international colleagues from New Zealand, Germany, Australia, and the UK. DEEPWAVE aircraft operations will be based in Christchurch, with six ground-sites on the South Island and one in Wellington from June-July 2014. 

» Learn more about DEEPWAVE

CONTRAST 2014 :: Convective Transport of Active Species in the Tropics

A study of how gases produced by marine organisms affect the atmosphere and impact climate change

CONTRAST, CONvective TRansport of Active Species in the Tropics, research objectives are to quantify how large convective clouds redistribute atmospheric gases in the tropical atmosphere. The study will take place in Guam from 15 January - 28 February 2014.

The most extensive deep clouds in Earth’s climate system develop in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) during the Northern Hemisphere winter due to increased availability of heat and moisture. The laws of physics dictate that warm air rises, termed convection. Tropical convection rapidly transports air from just above the ocean surface to high altitudes. These clouds pack sufficient energy that, on occasion, they punch through the boundary that separates the troposphere, the lowest atmospheric layer, from the overlying stratosphere. 

» Learn more about CONTRAST

DC3 2012 :: Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry

Investigating chemical transformation & transport in the atmosphere

The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field campaign is investigating the impact of large-scale thunderstorms on upper tropospheric composition and chemistry. The DC3 field campaign will make use of extensively instrumented aircraft platforms and ground-based observations.

Salina, Kansas will serve as the base location for the three research aircraft and the project operations center at the Salina Airport, while a network of ground-based radar, lightning antenna stations and instrumentation in Colorado, Oklahoma and Alabama will be used to support DC3 during the project from 15 May - 30 June 2012.

» Learn more about DC3

DYNAMO 2011-2012:: Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation

A scientific project in the Indian Ocean to understand global climate & weather systems

As the global climate changes, it becomes more urgent to understand how the oceans and atmosphere work together to regulate the Earth-s temperature and respond to long-term variation. The study of climate aims to quantify the degree of global temperature changes and their consequences, such as sea-level rise, with increasing detail. This information can be used by national/local governments and society to plan mitigation and adaptation strategies. Such quantitative information requires detailed knowledge of the structures and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean in the tropics.

From 1 October 2011-31 March 2012, a group of meteorologists, oceanographers, and climate scientists from 13 countries will gather in the equatorial Indian Ocean for a major scientific project to observe the development of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) at its source. This project is called DYNAMO, which stands for Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation.

» Learn more about DYNAMO

PREDICT 2010 :: Pre-Depression Investigations of Cloud Systems in the Tropics

Studying the development of tropical cyclones and hurricanes

Prediction and understanding of tropical cyclogenesis remains one of the most challenging aspects of atmospheric science. A multitude of tropical disturbances emerge from the West African coast every year near the Cape Verde islands, but only a few of these develop into tropical depressions, storms, or hurricanes.

The PRE-Depression Investigation of Cloud-systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) field experiment will deploy the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V aircraft in the Atlantic basin in the heart of hurricane season, 15 August - 30 September, 2010 to explore multi-scale interactions in tropical wave-like disturbances that promote or hinder the development of a tropical depression vortex.

» Learn more about PREDICT

HIPPO 2009-2011 :: HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations

A study global greenhouse gases and aerosols

The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) project is investigating the Carbon Cycle and greenhouse gases throughout various altitudes of the western hemisphere through the annual cycle. HIPPO is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its operations are managed by the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Its base of operations is EOL's Research Aviation Facility (RAF) at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) in Jefferson County, Colorado. The main goal of this program is to determine the global distribution of carbon dioxide and other trace atmospheric gases by sampling at various altitudes and latitudes in the Pacific Basin.

» Learn more about HIPPO

ISPA 2010 :: Inhibition of Snowfall by Pollutant Aerosols

Studying the link between air particles and snowfall rates 

Inhibition of Snowfall by Pollutant Aerosols (ISPA) studies the link between pollution aerosols and snowfall rates in the Mount Werner area near Steamboat Springs, Colorado from 14 January -  28 February 2010.

ISPA studied the link between pollution aerosols and snowfall rates in the Mount Werner area near Steamboat Springs, Colorado from January 14 - February 28, 2010. The study will help to determine the connection with pollution and snowfall amounts, as some pollutants decrease snowfall levels. The project is being carried out for the Desert Research Institute's Storm Peak Laboratory (SPL) on Mount Werner.

Pollution causes decreased droplet size which in turn decreases the riming collection efficiently on snowflakes, resulting in decreased snowfall during the season. This has direct effects on hydrology, snow pack levels and the ski industry.

» Learn more about ISPA

VOCALS 2008 :: VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study

A study of air-sea-land interactions

The VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study (VOCALS) took place in October - November 2008 off of the western coast of Chile, in South America. VOCALS was an international Climate, Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) program, the major goal of which is to develop and promote scientific activities leading to improved understanding of the Southeast Pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system on diurnal to inter-annual timescales.

» Learn more about VOCALS

BUFEX 2007 :: The Bunny Fence Experiment

Studying the effects of native versus agricultural vegetation on cloud formation

Southwest Australia, an area subject to extreme land use change in the last century, is an ideal test bed to investigate the influence of land use on regional climate. Clearing of native vegetation for agricultural purposes has resulted in a 700 km long sharp boundary between the croplands and the undisturbed vegetation areas. Preliminary studies suggest that the drastic nature and large spatial extent of the land surface heterogeneity is conducive to the formation of secondary circulations that significantly influence the climate of this region. Replacement of native vegetation by agricultural crops alters the surface energetics impacting the cloud formation.

» Learn more about BUFEX