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Featured Field Campaigns

CONvective TRansport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) »

Scientists have been interested in the vertical lofting of atmospheric gases produced by ocean organisms and the chemical outcome of these compounds as they decompose in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Convection and chemical processing in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) controls the composition of the sub-tropical global troposphere as well as air that enters the stratosphere. Understanding these processes is important for projecting how atmospheric composition will respond to climate change.

The CONvective TRansport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) field campaign, completed in January-February 2014 in Guam, quantified how large convective clouds redistribute atmospheric gases in the tropical atmosphere. Air within convective clouds has extremely low ozone, a unique chemical environment that was studied for the first time in detail during CONTRAST by research aircraft carrying a variety of sensors. CONTRAST was conducted collaboratively with two other airborne research projects, also based in Guam: ATTREX and CAST. Together, the three research projects spanned the marine boundary layer to the tropical lower stratosphere, providing unprecedented detail on the composition of the tropical atmosphere.

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Field Campaigns
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The atmosphere and other components of the Earth system present scientists with complex puzzles to be solved. To get a better grasp on these problems, major field campaigns involving dozens to hundreds of researchers, often from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines and many national and international institutions, must be staged. The Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) expertly manages the staging and instrumentation of these programs. Over weeks or months, they deploy a host of sensors and bring back large quantities of data for analysis. Some results emerge quickly, while others take years of work to uncover. Computer models draw heavily on the knowledge gleaned from field programs.

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