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May 2007



An international team that includes NCAR researchers is crisscrossing the Pacific Ocean in the Gulfstream-V this month during the Pacific Dust Experiment (PACDEX), chasing plumes of dust and ­pollution from Asia to North America. The plumes are among the largest events on Earth involving dust and pollutants, so great in scope that scientists believe they might affect clouds and weather as they travel across the Pacific. The plumes also block some of the Sun’s radiation, which has implications for global climate change.

This illustration shows a hypothetical plume and possible series of flight patterns for the G-V. When a major plume forms off Asia, the researchers fly from Boulder to Anchorage, where they refuel the G-V before continuing on to Japan’s Yokota Air Base. They then conduct a week-long series of flights in and around the plume as the dust and pollutants drifts toward North America.

On May 15, PACDEX scientists Jeff Stith (EOL) and V. Ramanathan (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) held a live Web chat for journalists during the second flight of the campaign. Jeff participated in the chat from 40,000 feet high aboard the G-V, while Ram was at Jeffco. (Illustration by Steve Deyo, COMET.)

On the Web

More about PACDEX in Staff Notes Monthly

PACDEX project page

In this issue...

Study predicts permanent drought in Southwest

NCAR scientists contribute to climate change assessments

Random profile: Karla Edwards

What is the color of space?

Center Green Idol

A Wirth-while talk

Remembering Jeanne Adams


Just One Look


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