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The "Collaborative Research: HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) of Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Study" will measure cross sections of atmospheric concentrations approximately pole-to-pole, from the surface to the tropopause, five times during different seasons over a three year period. A comprehensive suite of atmospheric trace gases pertinent to understanding the Carbon Cycle will be measured. HIPPO missions transect the mid-Pacific ocean and return either over the Eastern Pacific, or over the Western Atlantic. The program will provide the first comprehensive, global survey of atmospheric trace gases, covering the full troposphere in all seasons and multiple years. This phase of the HIPPO project is the fifth and last one of five, taking place in September 2011. HIPPO Global Phase I took place in January 2009; Phase II in November 2009 and Phase III in April 2010. Phase IV is taking place in June 2011.
To accomplish the objectives of the fifth phase, the NCAR G-V will fly the following missions:
This 48,000 km route is the same as the Phase 3 route. Phase 2 route went over the Western Central Pacific. Phase 1 was flown south over the Central Pacific and returned over the Eastern Pacific, and Phase 4 covers the Western Pacific. The specific goal of Phase 5 is to repeat the sampling of the productive regions of the Eastern Pacific, in addition to the major goal of HIPPO that is to monitor seasonal changes of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
All of the flights are essentially direct point-to-point routes with ongoing altitude changes. It is planned to have two maximum altitude ascents per flight, one in the first half and one in the second half, depending on the ability of the ATC to support altitude changes. Most of the flight will be conducted below RVSM (usually 28,000 ft) in order to allow the G-V to go up and down constantly to collect data at different altitudes throughout the troposphere. Ideally the flight would take off and go to FL430 for 15 min, then descend below RVSM and proceed in a sawtooth pattern between FL270 and FL100 with a 1,500 ft/min climb/ascent rate, then climb to FL450 near the end of the flight for about 15 min, descend and proceed to the airport.
All flights will be followed by at least one no-flight, maintenance day and may be followed by a rest day ("hard down" day); see the work schedule for details.