Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
Authors: Adam Wehmann, Ohio State University; Stephanie Rushley, North Carolina State University; Brian Whitlow, University of Virginia; Andrew Hutchinson, Christopher Newport University; Sean Archer, The College at Brockport.
Advisors/Mentors: Chip Trepte
Other Acknowledgements: Judith Providence, Sarah Elder, Stephen Quinn, Emily Morgan, Emily Nichols, Audrey Smith, Dr. T. Duncan Fairlie, Danny Mangosing, Chieko Kittaka.
Abstract: The CALIPSO satellite, equipped with LIDAR, provides high-resolution vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds to improve our understanding of cloud and aerosol interaction and the effect on air quality, climate, weather forecasting, and Earth’s overall energy balance. As a joint mission with the French Space Agency (CNES), CALIPSO has been an ongoing mission at NASA Langley Research Center since July 2006. The primary goal of this study was to revolutionize the use of CALIPSO data by creating a user-friendly graphical user interface with features that allow scientists to select individual groups of aerosols or particles and compute trajectories. The study also used a trajectory model developed by Dr. T. Duncan Fairlie that inputs meteorological data to calculate trajectories based on atmospheric conditions. This method is beneficial because some particles tend to deviate from the mean atmospheric flow and can be very difficult to track throughout the atmosphere without trajectory computation. A statistical analysis of the newly computed trajectories was completed to help scientists gain a greater knowledge of direct and indirect aerosol forcing and aerosol or particulate flux at different levels in the atmosphere. Case studies such as the Dismal Swamp Fire and severe dust storms in Central Asia were developed to test the methodology. A database also was created to store user-selected particles and individual trajectory runs.