by Bob Henson
Nearly 200 people convened 46 November at UCARs Center
Green campus to plan a strategy for equipping the High-performance Instrumented
Airborne Platform for Environmental Research. The broad group included
representatives from universities, government labs, and private industry,
as well as UCAR and NCAR.
The Gulfstream V jet will give NCAR and its collaborators a blend
of height and range unavailable from other NSF-owned aircraft. A life-size
model of HIAPERs interior sat in back of the Center Green auditorium
while atmospheric chemists, upper-atmosphere physicists, and other scientists
debated what sorts of instruments could and should be part of the platform.
The fate of the data was also of keen interest: participants stressed
the need to develop formats that are easily assimilated into models,
available in real time and postflight, and compatible with the deluge
of detail from satellites and other remote systems.
This is only one path to getting instruments aboard HIAPER,
said James Huning, the NSF program official for aircraft. He pointed
out that the initial NSF funding, which includes a $12.5-million target
for instrumentation, is meant to equip the plane for its 2005 debut.
With an expected usable life of at least 20 years, HIAPER will see many
follow-on upgrades. Some of the university-based, NSF-funded instruments
may reside within NCARs Atmospheric Technology Division, with
their modifications handled by ATD or by the university. Other tools
might reside at their home institutions, provided their developers agree
to make them available for community use.
An upcoming article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological
Society will report in detail on the workshop. In the meantime, some
of the workshop presentations can be viewed online (see On the
All in all, the workshop was a very productive and positive
event, says HIAPER Project Office director Krista Laursen. With
input in hand, the project staff will work with members of the HIAPER
instrumentation subgroup and the aircraft advisory committee to put
together a comprehensive document for NSF that details the measurement
priorities for HIAPER.