Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry

1 May 2012 - 30 June 2012

Lead Scientist: Christopher Cantrell

Observatory: sgp, sgp

The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) sought to understand the influence of convection on the upper troposphere which will lead to better understanding of radiative forcing and chemical oxidation. These goals directly relate to the physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the Earth system, and the changes that are occurring in the Earth system and the environment and how these changes are influenced by human actions. The DC3 field campaign utilized heavily instrumented aircraft platforms and ground-based instrumentation to characterize the impact of deep convective systems on the composition and chemistry of the mid-latitude upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The NSF/NCAR Gulfstream-V aircraft (G-V) was the primary platform for studying the high altitude outflow of the storms. The aircraft was instrumented to measure radiation fields and a variety of gas- and condensed- phase species to assess the budgets of HOx radicals. The NASA DC-8 (or alternatively, the NSF/NCAR C-130) aircraft supported the G-V through a number of remote sensing tools that aided in flight planning and column characterization and in situ observations to characterize the convective storm inflow. Several ground-based radars were used to characterize the physical characteristics of the storm and provide input to forecasting teams, to help fine tune flight plans as storms matured and then dissipated. Observations were conducted in three locations: 1) northeastern Colorado, 2) central Oklahoma, and 3) northern Alabama in order to gather data on different types of storms and with different boundary layer compositions. The data will be analyzed using models over a range of scales from 0-D box models and cloud-scale models to global models.

This experiment had a significant educational component. Involvement of students from K-12 through graduate school in DC3 was encouraged through precipitation collection and analysis, design and construction of instruments, participation in airborne and ground-based observations, operation and improvement of numerical models, and reporting of the results to the scientific community through presentations and publications. It was the intent of the PIs to make training and education an integral part of DC3 from the proposal through the publication stages. The PIs engaged local print and broadcast media to educate the public on the goals of DC3


Mary Barth
William Brune
Steven Rutledge



Bela M, M Barth, O Toon, A Fried, C Ziegler, K Cummings, Y Li, K Pickering, C Homeyer, H Morrison, Q Yang, R Mecikalski, L Carey, M Biggerstaff, D Betten, and A Alford. 2018. "Effects of scavenging, entrainment, and aqueous chemistry on peroxides and formaldehyde in deep convective outflow over the central and Southeast U.S." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(14), 10.1029/2018JD028271.


Lang TJ, WA Lyons, SA Cummer, BR Fuchs, B Dolan, SA Rutledge, P Krehbiel, W Rison, M Stanley, and T Ashcraft. 2016. "Observations of two sprite-producing storms in Colorado." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(16), Early online version, 10.1002/2016jd025299.


Yang Q, RC Easter, P Campuzano-Jost, JL Jimenez, JD Fast, SJ Ghan, H Wang, LK Berg, MC Barth, Y Liu, MB Shrivastava, B Singh, H Morrison, J Fan, CL Ziegler, M Bela, E Apel, GS Diskin, T Mikoviny, and A Wisthaler. 2015. "Aerosol transport and wet scavenging in deep convective clouds: A case study and model evaluation using a multiple passive tracer analysis approach." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(16), 10.1002/2015jd023647.
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