NASA's DC-8 #817 'Flying Lab' banks over
Rogers Lake at Edwards AFB, CA 11/8/07
Photo: NASA / Jim Ross
6/19/2008 - PALMDALE, CA – NASA and scientists from
the California Air Resources Board are conducting a
series of research flights this month that are
examining the atmosphere over the state to better
understand the chemical dynamics of smog and
NASA’s DC-8 airborne laboratory is flying from the
NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility, Palmdale,
over an area from San Diego as far north as Trinidad
Head along the coast north of Eureka. The DC-8 is
configured for atmospheric composition measurements as
part of a large environmental science campaign to
study the impact of air pollution on the Arctic's
atmospheric chemistry and changing climate. It will
use the same suite of instruments for the California
Air Resources missions. NASA is also sending a
specially outfitted P-3 aircraft from the NASA Ames
Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., and an ER-2
from NASA Dryden to fly over the state for additional
sampling during the same time period.
The flights will gather samples aimed at helping the
Air Resources Board obtain a better picture of
greenhouse gas emission sources throughout the state.
Other goals of the flights are to understand what type
of pollution is being blown into the state from
off-shore vessel traffic and to distinguish the
differences in air mass chemistry between urban and
"We will provide highly advanced capability to
develop critically needed information on pollutant
emissions and atmospheric concentrations both offshore
and onshore over California, allowing us to better
model air quality and future climate change," said
Hanwant Singh, an Ames project scientist.
"This collaboration will give us information on how
pollution is created, transported and even destroyed,"
said Bart Croes, chief of the Air Resources Board’s
Research Division. "The use of highly sophisticated
technology, data gathered at levels far beyond our
normal reach and collaboration with NASA’s very
knowledgeable technicians and scientists, combine to
create a rare opportunity."
NASA Dryden's DC-8 mission manager Frank Cutler said
the airborne laboratory will fly four flights of
varying altitudes between June 18 and 25, including
low-level passes over California's Central Valley and
coastal areas. One mission will take the aircraft over
the ocean off Santa Barbara to investigate areas of
natural methane seepage.
Flights will be coordinated with a series of NASA
Earth observing satellites as they pass over the
state. Researchers can use these simultaneous
measurements to validate satellite data and improve
modeled predictions of the impact of atmospheric
pollution on California.
The Air Resources Board, a department of the
California Environmental Protection Agency, has been a
leader in developing and implementing aggressive
pollution control measures to combat smog and
particulate matter for 40 years. The agency is also
working to reduce 25 percent of the state’s greenhouse
gas emissions by 2020, as required by the Global
Warming Solutions Act that Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger signed in 2006.
Source: NASA Dryden Press Release