The FAAM Aircraft as a Long Term Observatory
The region of the atmosphere from the surface through to the lower stratosphere is currently difficult to probe from space. Although satellites give good global coverage they are less quantative than insitu measurements and there can be problems with cloud coverage and the effect of aerosols. The availability of high quality and high resolution aircraft observations are of great value to improve our knowledge of atmopsheric dynamics and composition, for validation of satellite measurements and to provide the necessary data for transport models which are not available from satellites.
The FAAM Bae-146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft has been operating for over 5 years and has built up a database of over 500 flights, areas that are covered are shown in the Figure1. The aircraft is currently used as a platform for case study research with individual flights being specific to funded experiments. The object of this project is to use ALL the FAAM aircraft data collected within the UK to produce a series of long term datasets.
A long term seasonal composition study is currently being carried out for data from September 2004 - present for the UK and a separate study focussing on the VOC seasonal cycle using data from the WAS (Whole Air Sampling) System.