Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Southern Alps focus for international science experiment

Southern Alps focus for large international science experiment

NIWA scientists are this month taking a significant role in one of the largest science experiments to take place in New Zealand.

Called DEEPWAVE (Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment), the international experiment involving universities and research centres from five countries, is studying the atmosphere over the Southern Alps during June and July.

Two specially equipped research aircraft, a Gulfstream V jet from the US and a Falcon 20 jet from Germany, will act as “flying laboratories”, making up to 20 flights each over the six week duration of the experiment. They will be based at Christchurch Airport.

DEEPWAVE also involves scientists working from six sites across the South Island and in Wellington. The experiment has been several years in the planning and the overseas or international involvement is being funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research and Naval Research Laboratory.

It aims to better understand how gravity waves evolve and how they can be better predicted. The information gathered will ultimately lead to more accurate weather forecasts.

NIWA scientist Michael Uddstrom said the Southern Alps offered a unique opportunity for this type of atmospheric research because of the reliability of the westerly wind circulation patterns in the area.

“The effects of gravity waves have not been well studied and this experiment will enable us to add vital data to our weather and climate prediction models,” Dr Uddstrom said.

The data collected will have a vital role in enhancing computer modelling of weather and climate across the globe.

The NSF/National Center for Atmospheric Research Gulfstream V research aircraft from the US will be using multiple technologies to take measurements between the surface and 100km altitude.

These include deploying dropsondes that measure the atmospheric from the aircraft to the surface and lidars that look upward that make measurements of key atmospheric parameters up to almost 100 km.

A Falcon 20 aircraft, operated by the German Aerospace Centre, will fly at a lower altitude slightly ahead of the Gulfstream taking measurements from the surface up to about 11km.

NIWA’s expertise in weather prediction science is crucial to the experiment with NIWA scientists based in Christchurch assisting with forecasting the best times for the aircraft to fly to make the most of the atmospheric conditions when gravity waves are being generated. The flights take place at night and may last up to nine hours.

Up to 200 people, including about 15 NIWA staff, will be involved in the experiments with scientists based in the South Island at Hokitika, Birdlings Flat (near Christchurch), Mt John (Lake Tekapo), Lauder (Central Otago), Invercargill and Haast.

They will be responsible for taking a range of measurements that will be then be integrated with aircraft and satellite data to provide a complete vertical profile of the atmosphere from the ground up to about 100km. A full meteorological station is also being set up at Hokitika Airport.

NIWA’s Tony Bromley and Sally Gray will be at Haast, where their equipment will be set up in a paddock. They will release weather balloons that will fly to more than 30km altitude to coincide with the research flights. Radiosondes attached to the balloons will transmit a range of atmospheric measurements.

Mr Bromley said it was an exciting experiment to be involved in because of its scale and the new information that would be gathered.

“We want to show how important these gravity waves are. The more data we collect, the more information we can put into our computer models of the atmosphere and the more accurate our weather and climate forecasting will be.”

Dr Uddstrom is one of the principal investigators involved in the project reflecting NIWA’s long-standing reputation a leading atmospheric science research institute.

DEEPWAVE is also being operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre DLR, UK Met Office, NZ MetService, NRL and the Australian Antarctic Division.


DEEPWAVE runs from June 6 to July 27.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news