NORMAN—A University of Oklahoma meteorologist, Cameron R. Homeyer, will lead a science investigation as part of a new NASA-funded project, “Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere,” in an effort to better understand how summer storms over North America can change the chemistry of the stratosphere. OU’s role in this project is to manage analyses of real-time radar observations and data that is collected from these storms that result in transport of tropospheric air and cloud material into the lower stratosphere.
“Thunder storms can increase the amount of water in the stratosphere and can impact the radiative and chemical processes with the potential to deplete ozone,” said Homeyer, professor of meteorology in the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences. “The gases we will measure will tell us about the chemistry of the stratosphere, the impact of storms on composition and where we need to go next to collect data.”
The project team will use the NASA ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft for approximately 25 flights to collect data from storms that potentially affect the chemistry and composition of the stratosphere. Flights from Salina, Kansas, will take place in the summer of 2020 and 2021. The ER-2 will carry the instrumentation needed to collect data from the storms. The ER-2 can fly to altitudes of 70,000 feet, while commercial airliners can fly at around 35,000 feet.
The five-year, $30 million project is led by Texas A&M and managed by NASA Ames. Participating institutions include OU, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Miami, University of North Dakota, Texas A&M—Corpus Christi, NASA Goddard, NASA Langley and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Homeyer’s research group will receive approximately $850,000 that will fund two graduate students, advances in computational abilities to provide real-time radar products to the mission and opportunities for field experiences for OU graduate and undergraduate students during the next five years.