2017 NASA ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) field campaign took place during August at the beautiful equatorial island, Sao Tome. ORACLES is a multi-year airborne field campaign aiming to study the key processes that determine the climate impacts of African Biomass burning aerosols. NASA ER-2 and P3-B (image 1) were deployed to provide observations over the complete vertical column of the key parameters that drive aerosol-cloud interactions in the SE Atlantic, an area with some of the largest inter-model differences in aerosol forcing assessments on the planet.
Image #2 was captured during a routine science flight going from 0 S to 15 S along 5 E, showing a hazy view of the marine stratocumulus due to a layer of BB aerosol overlaying the cloud deck.
Sao Tome is the capital city of Sao Tome and Principe which is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, with a population of about 200 thousand. August is the dry season there, with very little rainfall. Thanks to the equatorial upwelling, the average temperature is about 26 celsius with very little daily variation. The local economy is mainly consist of tourism, coffee and cocoa plantations, and fishery and the local lifestyle is quite primitive. Tourists are mainly from Portuguese-speaking nations and some EU countries.
With a total of 13 successful science flights, ORACLES 2017 has just concluded safely and successfully as of September 4th, 2017.
Jianhao Zhang is Ph.D. student in the Meteorology and Physical Oceanography (MPO) program at the UM Rosenstiel School, working with Dr. Paquita Zuidema on the observations from Layered Atlantic Smoke Interaction with Clouds (LASIC) field campaign. LASIC addresses questions related to aerosol-cloud interactions in the SE Atlantic.