Regional Atmospheric Measurement Modeling and Prediction Program (RAMMPP)

Summer 2001 Aircraft Research Update for: August 01

Today August 1 we conducted 3 research flights (RF-52 through RF-54) in the Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) area in support of the DOE-sponsored Upper Ohio River Valley Project (UORVP) and EPA-sponsored 2001 Eastern Supersite intensive (ESP01). Flight data and vertical survey spiral details are available in the 2001 RAMMPP research flight summary. Preliminary flight data files are available upon request from the Principal Investigator.

After take off from College Park, MD in light haze conditions the AM ferry flight to the Pittsburgh area, RF-52 was aborted en route over northern West Virginia due to rapidly deteriorating visibility - thick haze exasperated by light near-surface wind speeds over the eastern Appalachian mountains. We were forced to land at Martinsburg, WV (MRB) and wait for visibility allowing VFR (visual flight rules) operations.
After conditions improved to allow resumption of VFR flight, we continued with RF-53 performing a vertical survey spiral over Stubenville, OH, west of PIT. During this late AM flight layers aloft (~0.5-1.5 Km MSL) of substantially elevated sulfur dioxide (SO2) and aerosol scattering (Bscat) were observed, along with ozone 90-95 ppbv. Haze was particularly strong throughout the PIT region resulting in visibility near 2 Km.
The PM flight RF-54 investigated air quality aloft east of PIT with profiles over Rostraver (P53; SE of PIT) and West Penn/Rock (9G1; NE of PIT). Visibility remained very poor, with high SO2 and CO in the near-surface layer and again at around 1.5 Km. Ozone was moderate at near 80 ppbv within the planetary boundary layer (PBL). On the ferry back to MD, ozone of 100-105 ppbv was observed in the PBL around 0.8 Km MSL, but with haze becoming lighter and visibility improving to ~8 Km east of the Appalachians.

These flights conclude our oxidant/particle experiments in Philadelphia, PA (NE-OPS) and Pittsburgh, PA (UORVP and ESP01). Our research focus will now switch south of the Mason-Dixon Line to Virginia (for VADEQ) and North Carolina (for NCDAQ) during August and September investigating the factors controlling observed near-surface photochemical ozone. Check back later this week for future flight planning.