Research plane samples the air

A data-gathering jet plane recently sampled the atmosphere over Lauder again as part of an international mission to learn about greenhouse gases globally.

The modified research jet, called Hiaper - high-performance instrumented airborne platform for environmental research - takes a slicing sample of the atmosphere.

The findings help determine where and when greenhouse gases enter and leave the atmosphere.

Lauder is part of the global Total Carbon Column Observing Network and is one of 14 key sites worldwide where data is used to understand the global carbon cycle.

The low flight over Niwa's atmospheric climate research station at Lauder last week was the third of five missions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Measurements were taken every second from take-off.

"We have now collected high-resolution global measurements during the southern hemisphere spring, summer and autumn. We are seeing CO2 and other gases going in and out of the Southern Ocean, with important implications for climate change," principal Niwa project investigator Britton Stephens said.

The aircraft recorded a profile of greenhouse gases from the stratosphere downwards and at the same time, scientists at Lauder measured the concentration of those gases at the Earth's surface and upwards.

The research jet also sampled the atmosphere over Lauder in November last year as part of the three-year project.



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