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Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys

A Research Project Sponsored by NASA

SEAC4RS was an airborne research project based out of Ellington Field near Houston. The study period consisted of August and September, 2013. Two aircraft were utilized. The NASA DC-8 provided observations from near the surface to 12 km, and the NASA ER-2 provides high altitude observations reaching into the lower stratosphere as well as important remote sensing observations connecting satellites with observations from lower flying aircraft and surface sites. The flight tracks are shown below, with blue denoting ER-2 flights, and red denoted DC-8 Flights.

The goals of SEAC4RS were:

  1. To determine how pollutant emissions are redistributed via deep convection throughout the troposphere.
  2. To determine the evolution of gases and aerosols in deep convective outflow and the implications for UT/LS chemistry.
  3. To identify the influences and feedbacks of aerosol particles from anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning on meteorology and climate through changes in the atmospheric heat budget (i.e., semi-direct effect) or through microphysical changes in clouds (i.e., indirect effects).
  4. To serve as a calibration/validation test bed for future satellite instruments and missions.

Attention also was given to the influence of biomass burning and pollution, their temporal evolution, and ultimately impacts on meteorological processes which in turn feed back into regional air quality. With respect to meteorological feedbacks, the opportunity to examine the impact of polluting aerosols on cloud properties and ultimately dynamics will be of particular interest.

The FSU research during SEAC4RS is to perform high resolution simulations of the period using the Weather Research and Forecast-Chemistry model (WRF-Chem). Our finest resolution grid nest will explicitly resolve deep convection and will be embedded within two larger scale domains that surround the convective area. Such detailed simulations have not been reported previously in the literature.

Final model output will be used to help answer the following outstanding research questions about the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS):

Graduate Students on this Project

Tristan Hall
Daniel Allison

Undergraduate Student on this Project

Sean Freeman

Principal Investigator

Henry Fuelberg

last updated February 24, 2014