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European Facility For Airborne Research May 16, 2022, 16:26

Airborne Research Stories

Long History of Using Aircraft to Understand the Atmosphere

By Steve Wofsy, Principal Investigator of NASA campaign  ATom, 26 July 2016  

Scientists have been using airplanes to sample the atmosphere since the 1940’s, when Britain’s Royal Air Force flew missions to understand the occurrence of contrails, which are simply water vapor that condenses behind an aircraft in certain atmospheric conditions. Today’s modern flying laboratories take sophisticated instrumentation throughout the atmosphere, in locations remote and nearby, polluted and nearly unpolluted. It is a very exacting, challenging endeavor, but one that pays off for both our understanding of the planet and for protecting it and the people on the ground.

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Originally published on Aug. 10, 2016
Last update on Sept. 13, 2016

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