Planning, implementation, and first results of the Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling Experiment (TC4)

  • Toon O
  • Starr D
  • Jensen E
 et al. 
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Abstract

The Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling Experiment (TC4), was based in Costa Rica and Panama during July and August 2007. The NASA ER-2, DC-8, and WB-57F aircraft flew 26 science flights during TC4. The ER-2 employed 11 instruments as a remote sampling platform and satellite surrogate. The WB-57F used 25 instruments for in situ chemical and microphysical sampling in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL). The DC-8 used 25 instruments to sample boundary layer properties, as well as the radiation, chemistry, and microphysics of the TTL. TC4 also had numerous sonde launches, two ground-based radars, and a ground-based chemical and microphysical sampling site. The major goal of TC4 was to better understand the role that the TTL plays in the Earth's climate and atmospheric chemistry by combining in situ and remotely sensed data from the ground, balloons, and aircraft with data from NASA satellites. Significant progress was made in understanding the microphysical and radiative properties of anvils and thin cirrus. Numerous measurements were made of the humidity and chemistry of the tropical atmosphere from the boundary layer to the lower stratosphere. Insight was also gained into convective transport between the ground and the TTL, and into transport mechanisms across the TTL. New methods were refined and extended to all the NASA aircraft for real-time location relative to meteorological features. The ability to change flight patterns in response to aircraft observations relayed to the ground allowed the three aircraft to target phenomena of interest in an efficient, well-coordinated manner.

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Authors

  • Owen B. Toon

  • David O. Starr

  • Eric J. Jensen

  • Paul A. Newman

  • Steven Platnick

  • Mark R. Schoeberl

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