First DEEPWAVE Flight

I’m a bit behind on updates in all the excitement going on with DEEPWAVE, plus exploring beautiful New Zealand, but here’s more about our first flight mission and some links to stay involved!

Friday, June 6th, 2014: Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

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HIAPER GV Flight Path (4 dropsondes to release-all in the ocean)
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Skew-T plot from 06 UTC Hokitika upsonde. We use these to tell us about the conditions at different levels of the atmosphere!

Today was our first Intensive Observing Period (IOP)! We’ve been watching the weather and tracking Energy Flux (EF) and wind over South Island, NZ. There’s a chance conditions will allow for internal gravity waves over us, so NSF/NCAR’s HIAPER GV research aircraft took off from Christchurch at 6 pm. They’re recording in-flight data and releasing dropsondes from 41,000 ft while we launch upsondes (weather balloons + radiosondes to collect data) from Hokitika!

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Ceilometer Backscatter plotting above 4*10-9 m-1 sr-1 up to just after 4 pm local time. All the deep red reaching the ground (0 m on the vertical axis) is the rain we had today!

We launched two more upsondes here in Hokitika; one at 06 UTC and another at 09 UTC. The first used a 300 g balloon filled with 43 ft3 Helium, and the second filled with 39 ft3 He, rather than the 200 g balloons (bigger balloons because they reach higher altitudes before bursting = more data for us to use!)

I’m now tracking the 09 UTC upsonde and relaying its upper-air data to the HIAPER GV and the Operation Center in Christchurch. GV just let us know that the first two dropsondes were fastfalls, meaning their parachute didn’t deploy when released.  The exciting news is that gravity waves are now being tracked over the ocean southeast of South Island!  Next dropsonde is set for around 2230 local time.

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Relaying info to HIAPER and Ops Center!

Until then, I’m corresponding with HIAPER GV at least until the 09 UTC balloon reaches 150 mb. HIAPER is set to land back in Christchurch around 3 am and has the two dropsondes to release before then.

06 UTC launch with Jordan Miller
06 UTC launch with Jordan Miller

An overall exciting day for DEEPWAVE New Zealand and my first IOP experience!  (To say I was enthusiastic about today is an understatement–just ask our Project Supervisor Bill Brown, or Brian Billings who kindly brought me dinner while I was glued to the HIAPER GV chat and incoming data…)  

I’m very much looking forward to the days ahead with DEEPWAVE!  View the detailed summary of IOP #1 and future missions here.  If you’d like to stay updated on our experiment, check out our Field Catalog!

Truly,

Tash

 

 

 

DEEPWAVE New Zealand!

Friday, June 6th, 2014 Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

Thanks to NCAR EOL's Bill Brown for training me in! First DEEPWAVE upsonde launch earlier this week

First DEEPWAVE upsonde  launch earlier this week–  Thanks to NCAR EOL’s Bill Brown for training me in!

I’ve travelled all the way to beautiful Hokitika, New Zealand during NZ winter to work on the NSF/NCAR-EOL/Naval Research Lab DEEPWAVE mission.  I’ll be launching daily weather balloons (upsondes) from the Hokitika Airport and forecasting and monitoring days with conditions that may produce internal atmospheric gravity waves.  

These days are called Intensive Observing Periods (IOPs) where we’ll launch additional upsondes, and dropsondes will be released from NSF/NCAR’s HIAPER GV.  The HIAPER research aircraft is now in Christchurch and, on IOP days, will fly over regions where gravity waves are expected.  Data from these flights, upsondes, dropsondes, and various instruments will help us better understand the development of deeply-propagating gravity waves.  I’ll also be working on research involving stereo-photogrammetry with Dr. Brian Billings to provide more information on wave and cloud formation.  I’m thrilled to be part of DEEPWAVE and to be working with such talented individuals!

{Today’s actually a big day for DEEPWAVE New Zealand–our first Intensive Observing Period (IOP) to search for atmospheric gravity waves…Let the hunt begin!  I’ll post an update on the experience.

Truly,

Tash