Reflecting on the C-MapExp campaign

From Bruno Neininger (Metair Switzerland), 20 August

I’m on the train from Cologne back to Zurich; quite happy and relaxed since the first part of the C-MapExp campaign was very successful.

A week ago, most partners only knew each other from phone calls and emails. As usual before a campaign starts, the focus was on the ‘dirty five’, where one of these issues is sufficient to be a show-stopper: Is the aircraft ready? Is the instrumentation ready? Is the crew ready? What is the weather outlook? And, finally, are all logistical aspects, including administration, sufficiently clear? All of them tried to challenge us a little bit, but, behaved quite merciful.

When we first met Sunday evening after the ferry flights to Dinslaken airfield (EDLD) – the coordinator from ESA, three colleagues from Bremen, one from Berlin and three from METAIR – the weather outlook was optimistic for Monday, and the real weather was even better (more or less clear blue skies for the remote sensing).

That’s how it continued day by day, with one or two flights per day, sitting as long as five hours side-by-side in the narrow cabin of METAIR-DIMO aircraft (www.metair.ch), the catering consisting of Swiss chocolate (in different physical conditions), cereal bars, and water.

Compared to other campaigns such as those over the Atlantic coast, we could not claim that these flights above the ‘Ruhrgebiet’ were very scenic, however, they were very impressive in a different way. Seeing distant chimneys from coal power plants and industry, while getting their emissions in realtime on the operator’s screen, was fascinating. Even more fascinating were invisible sources which showed up surprisingly; very often first in the nose and then on screen. It’s definitely not Alpine air up there!

The daily highlight certainly was that the basic idea of the campaign turned out to work. The ‘targets’ (sources of the greenhouse gases CO2 and/or CH4) could be characterised simultaneously both by the remote sensing Cessna flying at altitudes up to 3000 m (FL100), and our DIMO performing the in-situ measurements at lower altitudes between 150 and 800 m above the ground.

Especially last Sunday, with surface temperatures rising as high as 38 °C, we enjoyed the soundings up to 1500 m, dreaming of climbing higher in the cold. However, since this campaign is serious scientific work, we stayed in ‘our plumes’ and looked forward to a cool beer in the evening with our new colleagues and discussing the results of the day, and an outlook.

In short, this was a fantastic campaign with a dream team. Since perhaps next Thursday, a continuation will be possible, we hope that ‘Murphy’ stays on holiday far away from the Ruhrgebiet.

In the meantime, we will have a closer look at the data, which was checked daily in terms of health and completeness. Now we will recall the highlights which were visible on the realtime screen, and try to generate quantitative numbers about the source strengths of some strong emitters to provide these in-situ estimates for intercomparisons.

Bruno Neininger, approaching Freiburg.

 

 

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