Prof. Wing spent the last two weeks in Barbados participating in the EUREC4A field campaign. EUREC4A was a truly international campaign, with participants from 11 countries across three continents and more than 50 institutions. Led by scientists in France and Germany, EUREC4A aims to better understand the interplay between clouds, convection and circulation and their role and climate change - topics identified by the World Climate Research Programme as a "grand challenge" in our understanding of climate. EUREC4A includes 4 planes; the French ATR-42, German G-V, UK Twin Otter, and, through the NOAA-sponsored ATOMIC campaign, the US NOAA WP-3D, as well as four ships, autonomous platforms such as drones and gliders, and a long-term groud based remote sensing site, the Barbados Cloud Observatory.
My primary contribution to EUREC4A was to lead the daily weather briefings, in which we reviewed the observed meteorological conditions of the previous day and verified previous forecasts, then examined the outlook for the coming days. I also gave an invited presentation about my research on convective organization in the "BOMEX to EUREC4A" Symposium at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. I participated in two research flights, one of which was on the German Gulfstream-V, "HALO". The objective of HALO was to fly a series of circles at 30,000 feet and launch 12 dropsondes per circle to characterize the large-scale environment. Meanwhile, the French ATR-42 was flying below to characterize shallow clouds. I learned how to operate the AVAPS dropsonde system and assisted with dropsonde operations, in addition to keeping track of the meteorological conditions we sampled. We flew in circles for 9 hours, as I described in my blog post on the EUREC4A blog.
I also had the unique opportunity to join an ATOMIC flight on NOAA's WP-3D "Miss Piggy", one of the aircraft that is also used for hurricane hunting, on an overnight flight! We flew from 10 pm to 6 am under the light of the nearly full moon and "hunted" for shallow clouds in which we flew a series of legs in the boundary layer (500 ft), below cloud base (2000 ft), above cloud base (2800 ft), in-cloud (4500 ft), and above cloud top (8000 ft). There were a few bumps every now and then, flying at these low levels. The pilots adjusted our heading to maximize in-cloud sampling. After ascending to 25,000 ft for a HALO-style dropsonde circle, we descended back down to 500 ft for isotope sampling, then performed another cloud module. It was a longggg night, but a great experience and I enjoyed trackign the data and discussing intepretations with the science team. The sun was rising as we landed, making for a beautiful end to the flight.
I also found a few spare moments to go swimming with sea turtles a few times at the beach.