The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field campaign is investigating the impact of large, convective clouds on upper tropospheric composition and chemical make-up. The DC3 field campaign will make use of extensively instrumented aircraft and ground-based observations.
The Salina Airport Authority in Kansas will serve as the base location for three research aircraft and the DC3 Project Operations Center, while a network of ground-based radar and instrumentation will be operated in Colorado, Oklahoma and Alabama. The project is scheduled to run from 15 May – 30 June 2012.
DC3 is motivated by two main goals:
- To gain a better understanding of the effects of convective
transport on the structure and chemical make-up of the upper
troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region
- To quantify the sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrogen oxides (HOx) in the upper troposphere because it is key to understanding the role of upper tropospheric ozone (O3) on our climate system
Populated areas across the United States and the globe will benefit greatly from this study of ozone and other heat-trapping gases. Climate scientists will have a much better understanding of how ground-level pollutants are removed from near the Earth’s surface, as well as how those chemicals are transformed into both beneficial and potentially harmful chemicals in the upper troposphere. Environmental agencies that regulate and limit air pollution, such as NOx and HOx produced by vehicle and factory emissions, can use this information to improve policies and regulations that protect human health and the environment.
Decoding a Piece of the Climate Puzzle
The upper troposphere is an important region for Earth’s climate because water vapor, ozone, cirrus clouds and particles in this region strongly contribute to the amount of radiation that is allowed into and out of the Earth’s atmosphere and have direct impact on the climate system.
Upward movement of hydrogen oxides and nitrogen oxides by means of convection is one of the main methods of traveling from near the Earth’s surface to the upper troposphere, and in some cases to the lower stratosphere. Yet the impact of convective transport on the structure and chemistry of the UTLS region has not been fully studied on either the global or continental scale.
Gaining a clearer picture of the amount of nitrogen and hydrogen oxides that are transported to, as well as created in the UTLS region, and how they interact with the other chemicals is important for understanding climate change. Scientists want to know if there may even be some environmental benefits to the increased amounts of these chemicals.