Platform: NASA DC-8

NASA DC-8 at sunset
Photo: C.J. Moeser, JetPhotos

The NASA DC-8 aircraft will conduct research flights over both the Southwest U.S. and adjacent marine areas (based out of Palmdale, CA) and the Eastern U.S. (based out of Dayton, OH).

Palmdale, CA will provide the NASA DC-8 access to the urban areas of Los Angeles together with regions where dimethyl sulfide (DMS) chemistry is known to be active off the coast of Los Angeles and the Salton Sea, where high DMS and halogen emissions have previously been observed. From Palmdale, CA flight plans will be developed to sample the Los Angeles urban center and conduct sampling throughout the gradient between urban and marine atmosphere in a single flight. The close proximity of Palmdale, CA to marine environments with limited anthropogenic influence limits the loss of flight hours due to transit times. Elevated marine sulfur chemistry in coastal areas is a common feature globally and was validated during an AEROMMA concept flight performed during FIREX-AQ project in September 2019, where hydroperoxymethyl thioformate (HPMTF) mixing ratios ranged 100 - 300 ppt immediately off the coast of the LA basin. Flights in these regions additionally provide the opportunity to identify the impacts from neighboring agricultural influences in the California Central Valley.

In the Eastern U.S. the NASA DC-8 can survey major urban areas such as New York, Chicago, and Toronto, together with agricultural regions in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, and other cities such as Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas. Deployment in the Eastern U.S. may enable flights in the Northern Atlantic with high DMS emissions. Anthropogenic outflow on the Eastern coast of the U.S. provides ideal conditions to study the composition and aging of urban emission at the interface of marine environments. A TROPOMI monthly average NO2 map clearly shows the large urban areas, but also regions with low NOx and strong NOx gradients of the east and west coast within the study region overlapping with high seawater DMS concentrations making for ideal conditions to study the influence of anthropogenic emissions on the DMS oxidation cycle.

NASA DC-8 landing
Photo: C.J. Moeser, JetPhotos

NASA operates a highly modified Douglas DC-8 jetliner as a flying science laboratory in the Airborne Science Program under the NASA Science Mission Directorate. The DC-8 airborne science laboratory used for this study is based at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) facility in Palmdale, CA.

NASA DC-8 Instrument Payload