NASA and university scientists will study the intense summer storms in the central United States to understand their impact on the Earth’s atmosphere and how it causes climate change.
As part of NASAs Department of Earth Sciences, the Summer Stratospheric Dynamics and Chemistry or DCOTSS project will take off from Salina, Kansas in the summer of 2021 and 2022. The project will directly study the convective effects of electric storms. More than North America. The
DCOTSS mission aims to understand how chemical and dynamic processes interact to determine the composition of the stratosphere and how that composition changes as the climate system continues to change.
After a year of delay due to the COVID19 pandemic, the DCOTSS scientific flight program was launched on July 16. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center ER2 aircraft will fly up to 70,000 feet to collect atmospheric chemical samples to better understand material carried into the stratosphere by convective storms. In these intense thunderstorms, the air, particles, and chemicals that rise up are called super storms, which can be carried far above the lower layer of the atmosphere into the stratosphere that most electrical storms rarely reach. The
ER2 offers higher altitude sampling opportunities than other platforms. There will be 12 instruments in ER2 to measure gas and particles brought into the stratosphere by strong electrical storms. During the event, scientists will collect and analyze this data to understand the impact of excessive storms on Earth’s atmosphere.
image of a high-altitude view of a storm.
The ER2 aircraft from NASAs Armstrong Flight Research Center flew through the storm during the previous mission.
Image Source: NASA Photo / Stu Broce
“This is the first mission specifically designed to observe the effects of excessive storms,” ​​said Dr. Kenneth Bowman, DCOTSS principal investigator and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Texas. A.M.
In a typical summer, there will be about 50,000 storms in the United States, so almost every day, somewhere in the United States, there will be rapid storms,” ​​he explained. “Regarding the impact of these storms on the stratosphere, we will be able to use the DCOTSS data to solve many scientific questions.
These include the processes that operate over these strong storms, the potential impact of man-made chemicals on the stratospheric ozone layer, and the source and composition of aerosol particles in the stratosphere.
Aircraft closed image.
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center ER2 # 809 High Altitude Aircraft for Summer Stratospheric Chemical and Dynamics Scientific Flight (DCOTSS) in Palmdale, California, June 17, 2021 Prepared.
Source of the image: NASA photos Carla Thomas
According to Dr. Bowman, in the last 10 years, people have learned a lot about thunderstorms from other observing systems, such as radar and satellites. These systems show that overshoot storms occur more frequently than scientists originally thought. In addition to the possibility of affecting the ozone layer, overshoot storms also expel water vapor into the stratosphere. Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas that can cause global warming.
As excessive thunderstorms are more common in the central United States, Salina, Kansas is considered an ideal base for ER2 flights. ER2 will fly nearly 50 kilometers downwind from the storm to collect data safely and accurately.
As part of this event, several series of flights are planned. These included a five-week test flight period and two seven-week scientific deployments from Salina. As part of a series of test flights, ER2 took off in June from NASA’s Armstrong Building 703 in Palmdale, California, to ensure normal operation of aircraft and instruments and to collect data in locations where thunderstorms do not normally occur. . The measurement results for California Flight
will be very different from the summer activities and will be usefully compared to gas and particulate measurements obtained in the Midwest.

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