ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













Expeditions

Expeditions


Field notes from the far reaches of exploration
Expeditions HomeAboutContact

Arctic Methane: First science flight

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


Email   PrintPrint



Norway's south coast, as seen from the transit flight to Kiruna (Photo credit: Jennifer Muller, University of Manchester.)

Norway's south coast, as seen from the transit flight to Kiruna (Photo credit: Jennifer Muller, University of Manchester.)

Quick update on the first science flight, which took place yesterday (Thursday 15th August). We decided that all 6(!) mission scientists would go on this flight to kick off the campaign.

We flew north from Kiruna, out over the ocean to about 73N. We flew through some clean background air (not recently polluted), and also some layers of air that had higher and more variable methane concentrations. We saw these layers 3 times at similar altitudes, and I think there were 2 distinct sources for this higher methane. We’ll need to look at the back trajectories and carbon isotopes (see this earlier post for info on what they are!)

Flying over methane-emitting, nausea-inducing regions of Finland. 18:43 on Thursday 16 August 2013. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

Flying over methane-emitting, nausea-inducing regions of Finland. 18:43 on Thursday 16 August 2013. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

On our way back south, we flew over Berlevaag (in Norway), where Dave Lowry was on his road trip, taking air samples. We didn’t see him from the aircraft, but he saw us!

We also saw some methane when we flew low over the forest/wetland areas. There was a clear transition between low methane over the rockier/drier areas near the northern coast, and the greener areas further south. Both Nicola and I also felt a transition between feeling fine in the north, and feeling rather queasy flying over the wetlands, where there’s a bit more warmth and a low rumble of turbulence…

Previously in this series:

Arctic Methane: Hello and welcome to the MAMM blog
Arctic methane: What’s the story?
Methane and Mosquitoes – Blogging Bogs
Arctic Methane: Mr Blue Sky
Arctic Methane: And in the blue corner…
Arctic Methane: Transiting to Kiruna

Michelle Cain About the Author: Michelle Cain is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Atmospheric Science in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK, and a Natural Environment Research Council policy placement fellow at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK. She completed her doctorate at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, where she used both computer models and measurement data to study the transport of pollutants in the atmosphere. She is currently using these techniques to study pollutants in the atmosphere globally, including methane emissions in the Arctic. Posts will come from both Michelle and her colleagues working on the Arctic field work. Follow on Twitter @civiltalker.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





Rights & Permissions

Add Comment

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Holiday Sale

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Blow-Out Sale

Enter code:
HOLIDAY 2014
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >

X

Email this Article

X