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This work is based on the results of a series of field campaigns conducted in recent years. The CSIP (Convective Storm Initiation Project) campaigns in 2004 and 2005 were led by Prof Alan Blyth (UFAM ) and were conducted around Chilbolton in Hampshire, a NERC national facility housing advanced atmospheric radars and other equipment. The combination of this facility with the UFAM suite of instruments and the participation of FAAM and German aircraft (as well as a German Doppler lidar) produced unique new insights on the initiation and development of convection. NCAS Weather work at Manchester is focussing on the importance of thin layers of stratospheric and upper tropospheric air in promoting and limiting deep convection, and on the transport of ozone in and out of the boundary layer. Currently we are analysing the COPS (Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study) dataset from summer 2007 over the Black Forest to better understand the constraints on deep convection and the transport of polluted material into the free troposphere in such storms.

The last theme follows on from a major field campaign conducted in Darwin, Australia in 2005-6 to study the transport of material into the tropical tropopause layer in deep convection. This project, called ACTIVE (Aerosol and Chemical Transport in Tropical Convection) involved the NERC ARSF Dornier aircraft together with the Australian high-altitude Egrett aircraft, to measure the composition and aerosol/microphysical properties of air flowing into and out of tropical thunderstorms. With our project partners from the EU-funded SCOUT-O3 consortium and the US and Australian funded TWP-ICE experiment we gathered a unique dataset which is now being exploited for studies such as aerosol effects on deep convection and the impact of potential vorticity streamers on convective development.

Anvil of tropical thunderstorm observed from Darwin

ACTIVE was led by Prof Vaughan with co-investigators from the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge, York (UK) and York (Canada), and research institutions of FZJ Julich, DLR (both German), and NCAR (USA).

A follow-on project, STACATO, is being planned

Staff Involved in this activity are:

Prof. G. Vaughan, Dr Jonny Crosier and Prof. Tom Choularton (University of Manchester), Dr. J. Marsham and Dr. D. Parker (University of Leeds)