HIPPO II: Flight 05 - Rarotonga, CI to Christchurch, NZ

November 9, 2009

The HIPPO project had a great flight from Rarotonga, Cook Islands to Christchurch, New Zealand and performed 7 dips during the 7 hour flight.

One of the dips icluded a fly over at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's (NIWA) atmospheric research station at Lauder, in Central Otago, New Zealand. A New Zealand news website, The Scoop, states "The Lauder site is part of the global Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON), Measurements from this network of 14 key sites worldwide will aid understanding of the global carbon cycle and will validate new satellite-borne measurements of carbon dioxide and methane from space.

HIAPER will descend from an altitude of 14 km to just 300 meters above the ground when it flies over Lauder, measuring a profile of greenhouse gases from the stratosphere down to the Earth's surface. At the same time NIWA scientists at Lauder will be measuring the concentration of these gases at the earth's surface and the "total column" overhead.

The HIAPER flight over New Zealand provides a unique opportunity to perform an important calibration of new ground based, remote sensing measurements of greenhouse gases,says Dr Vanessa Sherlock, leader of NIWA's TCCON research project. "We will then compare these measurements with the aircraft profile to determine the calibration of the ground based measurements to the World Meteorological Organisation scale. In this way surface measurements and total column measurements from the ground and space can be combined in a consistent way to improve our understanding o future greenhouse gas concentration." says Dr Sherlock." Read the full story on the The Scoop.

During its flight the GV crossed the international dateline, landing in Christchurch New Zealand at around 4:00 pm November 10 - after only a seven-hour flight. Convert these times to your local time.

Christchurch is the gateway to Antarctica, as well as a one of the largest cities on the HIPPO route. The stop in Christchurch allows for any needed maintenance that perhaps could not be performed at smaller locations, and positions the GV to fly as far south as possible and return safely on one load of fuel.