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Scientists begin mission into the trade winds
Monica Allen

Scientists begin mission into the trade winds

Air & Sea Chronicles

Editor's note: Air & Sea Chronicles,  NOAA's blog series documenting the ATOMIC mission in Barbados​, kicks off today with the first blog from Janet Intrieri, a research scientist from NOAA's Earth System Research Lab Physical Sciences Division, who reports on the first days of the mission aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown.

Hello from the Ronald H. Brown!  We are now sailing east from Barbados and starting our measurements of the ocean and the atmosphere for ATOMIC.  We’ll be out here for the next six weeks gathering data so we can understand what happens in this important region with the goal of making our weather and climate forecasts better.  

Measuring air properties

Measuring air properties

Scientists are launching balloons six times per day, every day around the clock from the back of NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown. The balloons carry sensors that measure the atmosphere’s temperature, pressure, relative humidity and winds as they ascend up to 60,000 feet (twice as high as a plane flies). Richard Marchbanks/CIRES NOAA

But what EXACTLY are we doing?  Well, we will be launching balloons; deploying ocean drifters, buoys and wave gliders; measuring ocean properties (like temperature) from the surface down to 5,000 meters (3.1 miles); and using radars and lidars to get the data we need. To give you a visual idea of what we are doing, in the coming weeks we’ll post updates describing: 

  • The measurements as they happen

  • The crew and teams that make all this happen

  • Why we’re out here in the first place

  • What life is like on a NOAA research vessel.

So stay tuned, and in the meantime, these photos capture some of what we did in our first couple of days at sea. There’s always something going on! 

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«August 2020»


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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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