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Aircraft on SAFARI

Aircraft on SAFARI

The South African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000) is a scientific study integrating satellite, airborne, and ground measurements of southern Africa. The purpose of SAFARI is to better understand the relationships between climate change, human activity, and the region’s ecosystems. SAFARI scientists are studying aerosols, air pollution, biomass burning, clouds, land-cover change, meteorology, trace gases, terrestrial ecology, and water resources.

This photograph shows two of the aircraft participating in SAFARI at their temporary home in Pietersburg, South Africa—NASA’s ER-2 (foreground) and the University of Washington’s Convair-580 (left). The ER-2 is a high altitude research aircaraft based on the U2 spyplane with a range of 3,000 miles (4800 km) and a maximum altitude over 65,000 feet (19.8 km). The aircraft carries simulators for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), and Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) instruments aboard Terra. The ER-2 also carries several other instruments to remotely sense and directly measure the atmosphere.

The Convair-580 is a much bigger plane capable of carrying a large number of scientists and instruments. For SAFARI 2000, it will carry an extensive complement of instruments to study aerosols, cloud properties, atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology. After spending six weeks in Pietersburg starting August 12, 2000, it will move to Namibia to study stratus clouds.

To learn more about SAFARI 2000, visit the SAFARI homepage, and read updates from Africa.

Photograph by EOS Project Science Office