Historic mission to quantify greenhouse gases in real timeJanuary 8th, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 8 (IANS) HIAPER, one of the most advanced existing research aircraft, will be embarking on a historic mission spanning the globe from pole to pole.The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) mission will cover more than 38,400 kms as an international team of scientists makes a series of five flights over the next three years, sampling the atmosphere in some of the most inaccessible regions of the world.
HIAPER is short for the National Science Foundation’s High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platfrom for Environmental Research. A modified Gulfstream V jet, it can fly at high altitudes for extended periods of time and can carry 5,600 pounds of sensing equipment, making it a premier aircraft for scientific discovery.
The goal of the mission is ambitious — the first-ever, global, real-time sampling of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases across a wide range of altitudes in the atmosphere, literally from pole-to-pole.
To date, much of our understanding of global atmospheric greenhouse gases has been acquired from distant satellites, balloon launches, or highly sophisticated supercomputer models.
HIPPO mission will, for the first time, give scientists real-time global observation data to correlate with those climate models, according to a Harvard University release, which is associated with the project.