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Unmanned aircraft to study Southern California smog and its consequences
Date:5/6/2008

Using sophisticated unmanned aircraft, research scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego hope to assess Southern Californias potential for climate change and better understand the sources of air pollution.

Funded by the California Energy Commission, the California AUAV Air Pollution Profiling Study (CAPPS) uses autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAVs) to gather meteorological data as the aircraft fly through clouds and aerosol masses in Southern California skies. The flights will take place at Edwards Air Force Base near Rosamond, Calif. The study began its first sortie of data-gathering flights in April 2008.

Scripps Atmospheric and Climate Sciences Professor V. Ramanathan, CAPPSs lead scientist, said the characteristics of Southern California climate and meteorology ranging from its dry weather to its tendency to trap rather than export smog could make it especially prone to climate change consequences of air pollution such as accelerated snowmelt and dimming at ground level.

These monthly UAV flights will provide unprecedented data for evaluating how long range transport of pollutants including ozone, soot and other particulates from the northwest United States, Canada, east Asia and Mexico mix with local pollution and influence our air quality and regional climate including the early melting of snow packs, said Ramanathan.

Data collection began on April 2, 2008 and will continue through January 2009, offering researchers a chance to view seasonal variations in air pollution.

Ramanathans team revolutionized the gathering of atmospheric data in 2006 when the researchers first successfully deployed the aircraft in the Maldives AUAV Campaign (MAC). Miniaturized instruments on the aircraft, which typically flew in formations of three, measured a range of properties such as the quantity and size of the aerosols on which cloud droplets form. The instruments also recorded va
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Contact: Rob Monroe
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
858-534-3624
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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