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Co-ordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST)

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Harris, Neil 
Carpenter, Lucy J 
Lee, James D 
Vaughan, Geraint 
Filus, Michal T 


The Co-ordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST) project is studying the chemical composition of the atmosphere in the Tropical Warm Pool region to improve understanding of trace gas transport in convection.

The main field activities of the CAST (Co-ordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics) campaign took place in the West Pacific in January/February 2014. The field campaign was based in Guam (13.5°N, 144.8°E) using the UK FAAM BAe-146 atmospheric research aircraft and was coordinated with the ATTREX project with the unmanned Global Hawk and the CONTRAST campaign with the Gulfstream V aircraft. Together, the three aircraft were able to make detailed measurements of atmospheric structure and composition from the ocean surface to 20 km. These measurements are providing new information about the processes influencing halogen and ozone levels in the tropical West Pacific as well as the importance of trace gas transport in convection for the upper troposphere and stratosphere. The FAAM aircraft made a total of 25 flights between 1°S-14°N and 130°-155°E. It was used to sample at altitudes below 8 km with much of the time spent in the marine boundary layer. It measured a range of chemical species, and sampled extensively within the region of main inflow into the strong West Pacific convection. The CAST team also made ground-based measurements of a number of species (including daily ozonesondes) at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program site on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (2.1°S, 147.4°E). This article presents an overview of the CAST project focussing on the design and operation of the West Pacific experiment. It additionally discusses some new developments in CAST, including flights of new instruments on the Global Hawk in February/March 2015.


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the American Meteorological Society via


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Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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American Meteorological Society

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CAST is funded by NERC and STFC, with grant NE/ I030054/1 (lead award), NE/J006262/1, NE/J006238/1, NE/J006181/1, NE/J006211/1, NE/J006061/1, NE/J006157/1, NE/J006203/1, NE/J00619X/1, and NE/J006173/1. N. R. P. Harris was supported by a NERC Advanced Research Fellowship (NE/G014655/1). P. I. Palmer acknowledges his Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. The BAe-146-301 Atmospheric Research Aircraft is flown by Directflight Ltd and managed by the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements, which is a joint entity of the Natural Environment Research Council and the Met Office. The authors thank the staff at FAAM, Directflight and Avalon Aero who worked so hard toward the success of the aircraft deployment in Guam, especially for their untiring efforts when spending an unforeseen 9 days in Chuuk. We thank the local staff at Chuuk and Palau, as well as the authorities in the Federated States of Micronesia for their help in facilitating our research flights. Special thanks go to the personnel associated with the ARM facility at Manus, Papua New Guinea without whose help the ground-based measurements would not have been possible. Thanks to the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC) for hosting our data and the NCAS Atmospheric Measurement Facility for providing the radiosonde and ground-based ozone equipment. Chlorophyll-a data used in Figure 1 were extracted using the Giovanni online data system, maintained by the NASA GES DISC. We also acknowledge the MODIS mission scientists and associated NASA personnel for the production of this data set. Finally we thank many individual associated with the ATTREX and CONTRAST campaigns for their help in the logistical planning, and we would like to single out Jim Bresch for his excellent and freely provided meteorological advice.