ESRL Participates in PIRATA Northeast Extension/AMMA/AEROSE Research Cruise


April 7, 2008

From April 15 to May 17, 2008, Bill Otto of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division (PSD) will participate in the PIRATA Northeast Extension / AMMA / AEROSE cruise aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown. The Pilot Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) Northeast Extension project will utilize a moored buoy system and automatic meteorological stations to obtain upper ocean and near surface atmospheric data. PSD's work in particular will center on the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) and Aerosol and Ocean Science Expedition (AEROSE) projects. PSD will run/maintain the on-board weather radar, satellite system, and flux system. This equipment will collect data in the tropical eastern Atlantic Ocean to investigate atmospheric processes driving variations in sea surface temperatures (SST). In addition, PSD will work with AOML to evaluate data collected from PIRATA buoys. Other organizations involved in this mission include AOML, PMEL, NESDIS, Howard University, University of Miami, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

AMMA is a coordinated international project to improve knowledge and understanding of the West African Monsoon, its variability and impacts. West Africa is also part of the world's major source region of mineral dust aerosol. AEROSE is a comprehensive approach for gaining understanding of the impacts of long-range transport of mineral dust in the tropical Atlantic. Red tides, increasing rates of asthma, and precipitation variability in the eastern Atlantic and Caribbean have been linked to increases in the quantities of Saharan dust transported across the Atlantic.

Variability in the Eastern Atlantic impacts weather and climate in the rest of the world. The Eastern Atlantic is also the breeding ground from many hurricanes that reach the US coast. Data collected from this mission will help understand and improve general model parameterizations, and can be studied to help improve prediction of the African Monsoon and Atlantic SST. This mission is also an important opportunity for researchers to study the mobilization, transport and impacts of dust on weather and climate.

Contact: Chris Fairall