On Friday Gideon Bradshaw* who is one of the directors of the forthcoming project which I have been preparing for over the last couple of months took to twitter via @eonshore and started the ball rolling by introducing the team who I’ll be spending alot of time floating across the US in an impressively large airship.
I expect that we will all get to know each other pretty well during our 4 week journey. During the trip we’ll travel over a great diversity of different landscapes, oceans, wetlands, forests, drylands and deserts with a smattering of cities along the way. The views will certainly be pretty impressive.
One of the most different aspects of this project to what I usually do is the speed of travel! Science speed on research aircraft for atmospheric science ranges from 140 – 200 kts (for the NERC ARSF Dornier 228 to the FAAM 146 ARA respectively) whereas we will be wandering the skies at 30 kts. This is so slow that we can open the gondola windows! It does mean that inlets and associated “plumbing” (more info about inlets here) are a fair bit easier to configure. In fact the speed of travel is the tagline for a talk I will be giving at the university open day later this week, my talk is titled “Science at 100 metres per second: via the Sahara, Borneo and the M25”.
The first thing to do is to rendezvous with the airship and assorted instrument folks who are kindly loaning kit for the trip and get the gondola loaded up ready for the voyage. We will also be working very closely with a number of US research agencies including NASAA, NOAA (Earth System Research Laboratory), JPL and USGS.
We should be uploading our thoughts along the way so keep an eye out for #cloudlab, there will a be proper press release closer to the time, a link will be posted here when it does appear…..
* – Gideon also directed a recent programme about Marie Curie. An incredible woman who struggled on against a great many obstacles. Not forgetting that she is still to only person to get two Nobel prizes in two different disciplines (Chemistry and Physics).