Arctic Research

ATDD is beginning work with Harvard University to instrument a small research aircraft to measure boundary layer fluxes of CO2 and CH4 in the Arctic regions of North America. A Diamond Twin Star will be used to carry novel instruments to measure CO2 and CH4 concentrations, developed at Harvard University's Anderson Group (http://www.arp.harvard.edu/) in conjunction with an ATDD Best Aircraft Turbulence (BAT) probe to measure 3-D wind and turbulence (http://www.atdd.noaa.gov/?q=node/29). The ATDD BAT probe will feature pumps to clear the pressure port tubes in flight should water be encountered.

The BAT probe will be tested in the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel at MIT in late April to verify its performance under flight conditions prior to installation on the Twin Star aircraft. Installation on the aircraft is expected in June 2010, and first flights in the Arctic region expected in August, 2010.

The permafrost of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (an area of about 2 million kilometers squared) is more porous than previously thought. The ocean on top of it and the heat from the mantle below it warm it and make it perforated like Swiss cheese. This allows methane gas stored under it under pressure to burst into the atmosphere. The amount leaking from this locale is comparable to all the methane from the rest of the world's oceans put together. Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation