The RouteThe Yukon XL CIRES/NOAA GMD scientists set off this summer with some high aspirations (no pun intended…) to deploy AirCores in three different sites within the Total Column Carbon Observing Network (TCCON): Edwards Air Force Base near Palmdale, California; Lamont, Oklahoma; and Park Falls, Wisconsin.  Our goals for this campaign were threefold: Let ‘er… Read More


Friday, August 3, 2018 The day dawned with a layer of fog blanketing the Schnur Lake area but by 7:30am the fog had lifted and we could see beautiful blue skies.  It looked like a perfect day for a launch and comparison with the TCCON, the EM-27s and the OCO-2 satellite – a great way… Read More


After prepping, launching, chasing, and retrieving, the final step is to measure the AirCore sample for atmospheric trace gas species: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and carbon monoxide (CO). To do this, we hook up our AirCore to a trace gas analyzer that measures CO2, CH4, CO, and water vapor.   What an AirCore sample looks… Read More


Wednesday – Thursday, August 1-2, 2018 Wednesday dawned with cloudy skies and rain, and then carried on that way throughout the day.  Luckily the weather forecast had been spot-on, so we pretty much had planned on a down day.  Poor Jack!  This would have been his first real down day since the weekend before the… Read More


Tuesday, July 31, 2018 The software that we use to predict a launch point so the payload will travel to our intended landing point directed us to an area today that was inaccessible by GMC Yukon, so we were toodling around about five miles away surrounded by tall trees.  We went down one small dirt… Read More


Monday, July 30, 2018 While Tim did the morning prep of the AirCores at the cabin, Jack and Sonja drove into Park Falls to check with the US Forest Service about launching at Newman Lake.  They welcomed it but, anticipating questions, they sent word to let nearby residents know in advance.  And so the the… Read More


Jack and Sonja picked up Tim shortly after noon at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport and started heading east and north to get to Park Falls, Wisconsin.  We felt like all we saw in northern Wisconsin was tall trees and signs for boat launches…..  should be interesting AirCore recoveries….   We moved our stuff into a… Read More


Rainy Iowa A fairly easy day today….  Bianca hopped out at the Kansas City Airport to fly back to Denver in the morning.  Jack and Sonja continued up I-35 for a rainy drive to St. Paul, Minnesota.  The only really noteworthy thing was a stop at Cabela’s to check into buying some tree “climbing sticks”,… Read More


We’re starting to feel like old pros here.  This morning we drove to a spot just north of Wakita, OK, a town noteworthy for having been featured in the 1996 film “Twister”.  In the movie, the town is destroyed by a tornado.  We parked at the end of a closed dirt road, set up our… Read More


Much as we cannot control the weather, we cannot control  the flight path of the AirCore. However, before we launch, we can get a sense of where the balloon will drift over time by using a trajectory model developed by Allen Jorden in NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division. This software program takes data from regular weather… Read More