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Arctic Methane: Flight Sunday 18th AM

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


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By Dr Sam Illingworth, University of Manchester

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

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

Today marks the end of the August flying campaign for MAMM, a whilst there will be a transit back to the UK tomorrow (as well as hopefully some methane measurements over the off shore oil rigs in the North Sea), today’s flights are the last to be making methane measurements over the Arctic wetlands.

As the Blue Team began their morning flight things didn’t look to great weather-wise, and it was feared that we wouldn’t get the opportunity to descend through the cloud layer to make the necessary low level measurements. However, the pilots spotted a gap in the clouds just North of the Gulf of Bothnia and took us down. From there the weather kept on getting better, and there was a sufficient break in the cloud layer to enable us to add an additional leg to the flight plan, making box measurements over the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) site in Sodankylä, Finland, which will be used for intercomparison work.

This was an excellent example of superb communication between the instrument scientists, the mission scientists, and the pilots, which meant that we were able to adapt our original aims to take advantage of the conditions. It was of course further proof that the Blue/Azure/Green team were top dog (although the help that we received from Red Team in terms of coordinating with the TCCON site to inform them of our intended flight path was also vital to our success, and definitely deserves a mention, albeit grudgingly and definitely in parenthesis).

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
Arctic Methane: First science flight
Arctic Methane: A night in Stordalen wetland, Abisko
Arctic Methane: Flight Friday 16th AM
Arctic Methane: Flight Friday 16th PM
Arctic Methane: Flight Saturday 17th AM
Arctic Methane: Flight Saturday 17th PM

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.





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