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Catching up with Dan Anderson

The Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project (ACCLIP) was a one-month campaign conducted in South Korea during August 2022. GESTAR II scientists Daniel Anderson (614/UMBC) along with Jason St. Clair (614/UMBC) were two of several scientists providing field support for the ISAF instrument, and Emma Knowland (610.1/MSU) was one of the scientists who assisted with aerosol and chemistry forecasts for flight planning and analysis. We caught up with Dr. Anderson to learn more about ACCLIP and the ISAF (In Situ Airborne Formaldehyde instrument).

First, to clarify: "Field support for the ISAF involved confirming that the instrument was working, processing the data, and fixing any problems that may have arisen."
Next, the ACCLIP timeline: "It essentially lasted all of August. The first flight based out of South Korea was on August 3 and the last was September 1. A total of 15 flights were based out of Korea, in addition to 2 flights in Houston in July. Jason and I were there for the second half."

The goal of the mission and why this particular location was selected: "The overall goal of the mission is to understand how the Asian Summer monsoon system affects atmospheric composition in the upper troposphere (the layer of the atmosphere where we live and where weather happens) and the stratosphere (where the ozone layer is). In the upper atmosphere, the monsoon system is centered over Tibet, where NASA cannot fly. Instead, the flights were designed to measure outflow of the system. South Korea was chosen because it is downwind of the monsoon system as well as for practical purposes (i.e., it's easier for NASA to fly a plane from there than most other East Asian countries). 
In addition to the monsoon goal, there was also a flight where we flew over a super typhoon, which had maximum winds equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. The idea there is similar, in that we were trying to understand how typhoons/hurricanes can transport surface air to the upper atmosphere. The NASA portion of this was flown on the WB57 aircraft, which is a two-seater plane (a pilot and a science officer), and focused primarily on altitudes around 45,000 - 60,000 feet (altitudes well above where normal passenger airplanes fly)."

Understanding ISAF's role in ACCLIP: "The ISAF instrument measures formaldehyde. In the atmosphere. Formaldehyde can be directly emitted (normally by fires, burning fossil fuels, and some consumer goods) or most of the time it's produced in the atmosphere when other chemicals break down. It generally doesn't last long (~2-3 hours) in the air, so most of the time, at altitudes where the WB57 flies, you see almost nothing. But when you have a large storm or ... a monsoon that can bring a lot of air from the surface much higher in the atmosphere, it can increase formaldehyde by ~10 times. For ACCLIP, the formaldehyde measurements help identify air that has recently been transported into the upper atmosphere. You can also use formaldehyde, in conjunction with measurements of other species, to understand more about the chemistry of the upper atmosphere."

Finally, post-campaign plans: "The next steps are finalizing the data and then analysis. A science team meeting will be held in November, where people will start sharing preliminary results."

Visit ESPO-ACCLIP to learn more about this campaign, the instrument payload, and the teams behind the research.

Posted: October 27, 2022, 3:28 PM