WISE 2017 (HALO)

Scientific Background:


Changes in the distributions of trace gases, like water vapor and ozone, and thin cirrus clouds in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) strongly impact radiative forcing of the Earth's climate and surface temperatures (e .g. Riese et al., 2012), and are of key importance for understanding climate change (e. g. Solomon et al., 2010). Mixing processes at the tropopause cover a scale range from the micro scale to planetary scales and have to be parameterized in global models. Uncertainties in the description of mixing, however, introduce large errors to the estimates of the radiative forcing and are thus of key importance for understanding climate change (Riese et al., 2012). It is therefore of great importance to quantify the physical and chemical processes (e.g. exchange of air masses, cirrus formation) that govern the composition of the UTLS. The so-called overworld above θ ≥ 380 K influences directly the composition of the extra-tropical stratosphere with significant contributions of air originating from the Asian monsoon circulation (Vogel et al., 2014; Ploeger et al., 2013). Below, the extra-tropical transition layer (ExTL) is strongly affected by bidirectional (quasi-isentropic) mixing across the tropopause (Hoor et al., 2010). The upper bound of the ExTL roughly coincides with the tropopause inversion layer (TIL), which constitutes a region of enhanced stability above the tropopause. The impact of radiatively active species like water vapour and ozone on the temperature structure makes the TIL a sensitive indicator for changes of ozone chemistry or changes of tropopause temperatures which directly affect water vapour which in turn feeds back into the static stability.


Specific scientific questions are:


  • What is the impact of wave-driven large scale eddy mixing on the composition of the mid- to high-latitude LMS?
  • What is the role of the Asian Monsoon in moistening the extra-tropical UTLS in summer?
  • What are typical time scales for mixing and how are these related to the underlying dynamical processes and source regions
  • Does the TIL affect transport and mixing into the lower stratosphere and within the lower stratosphere?
  • Which factors determine the formation of the TIL and how do these in turn affect transport?
  • What is the link between Rossby wave breaking events and associated transport of water vapor and cirrus formation at mid latitudes?

Mission Information


  • Beginning: 07/08/2017
  • Ending: 20/10/2017
  • Region: Ireland (Europe)



Name: HALO (High Altitude and LOng range research aircraft)

Aircract Type: Gulfstream G-550

Registration: D-ADLR

Operator: DLR (German Centre for Aeronautics), DFG (German Research Foundation)

Base: Oberpaffenhofen

Impressions of other HALO  Missions