Tim Suttles, Harold Annegarn and I are pleased to provide you with an update of the August - September 2000 SAFARI 2000 Intensive Flying Campaign activities as they stand through September 23, 2000. Intensive flying operations associated with the August-September SAFARI 2000 Intensive Flying Campaign will end Sunday, September 24, 2000. The completion of the last sorties of the NASA ER2 and the South African Weather Bureau Aerocommander 690As will bring to a close one of the most aggressive and successful coupled ground-based-in-situ-remote sensing intensive campaigns ever in Africa.
The ER2 has flown 18 scientific missions through September 23 with two additional sorties planned for a total near 120 research hours. The CV580 has flown approx. 120 research hours with roughly equal time over eastern, central and western Southern Africa. The two South African Weather Bureau Aerocommander 690As, JRA and JRB, have flown approx. 100 and 85 research hours, respectively. The UKMO MRF C130 flew approx. 70-75 research hours on the western side of the subcontinent from September 4 - 19, 2000. The CSIRO group out of Australia has also flown several missions in collaboration with SAFARI 2000 with the purpose of examining southern African atmospheric outflow.
Planning for these research hours was only possible through strong in-region support of the S2K Ops Center for Flight Planning, especially the IT and data serving facilities, in Pietersburg RSA, as well as the information and in-field support received by Ops from key SAFARI 2000 sites - Mongu, Zambia, Maun, Botswana and Skukuza, South Africa. The web site developed and maintained by Louis Nguyen and Pat Minnis at NASA Langley was an extremely valuable tool for flight planning at the Pietersburg Ops Center. Likewise, strong support in the extremely quick handling of EOS remotely sensed data in North America greatly aided SAFARI 2000.
The numbers above donít reflect the countless hours of effort by those folks, both local and international, on the ground. Intensive ground based activities, many of which focused on TERRA validation, took place in several different countries Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. These SAFARI 2000 participants who operated under many difficult logistical situations, who set up and maintained their equipment, made the types of observations necessary to tie the in-situ and remotely sensed observations to the processes on the ground that we are trying to study.
The end result of these combined, collaborative efforts is the production of an interdisciplinary data set comprised of ground-based, in-situ and remotely sensed data that is rapidly approaching the order of a Terrabyte. The provision of a real time geospatial data server in the field has aided greatly in the planning of this intensive campaign. Additional data handling activities that are supported both by NASA and by the region, are underway and include the establishment of both an online and a standalone metadata editor to allow for the harvesting of the field campaign knowledge before it is lost with the return of the S2K participants to their normal lives. Participants will be contacted within the next week with instructions concerning the submission of metadata.
At first glance, SAFARI 2000 has obtained some exciting in situ and remotely sensed information about: 1) vegetation structure and the underlying geology associated with it; 2) the evolution of this wonderfully thick haze and the intricate structure within it; and 3) about the interactions of haze, whether it be due to industrial, biomass burning marine or biogenic sources, with local and distant cloud fields. We encountered some pretty awesome atmospheric conditions over a variety of many different landscapes, including decreasing visibility so extreme that Lake Kariba was not visible at nadir from an altitude of 1500 ft above it in the middle of the day - no clouds, low humidity, just thick haze. The haze that was present, especially during the period of August 20 - September 7 or so, yielded atmospheric conditions that few of S2K participants, especially those with decades plus field experience, have seen before (including the Amazon Basin and Kuwaiti Oil Fires).
We believe that after analyses we will have observed an unprecedented southern African fire season, especially in western Zambia, southern Angola, northern Namibia and northern Botswana. It should be noted that burning on the eastern side of the subcontinent was really accelerating these past two weeks as well. Extremely large fires, with fire fronts that often exceeded 30+ km, lifetimes upwards of weeks, and total areas burned exceeding at times hundreds of square miles were not uncommon. We have managed to characterize the land surface and the atmosphere before, during and after such fires. Integrated airborne and ground-based activities coupled with remote sensing data acquisition from L7 and Terra enabled the thorough observation of 4 prescribed fires - 2 in Zambia and 2 in South Africa. Land surface sites that were extensively characterized by the joint SAVE/KT/SAFARI 2000 wet season campaign along the Kalahari Transect were also reexamined during the dry season especially for structure and fuel load determination. We have been able to observe the chemical and physical evolution of aerosol and trace gas emissions from fire, industry and biogenic sources. We have made some key observations and gained some insight in terms of differences in atmospheric chemistry between vegetated and unvegetated sites here in southern Africa. Observations were made under cloud free, low-level, mid-level and upper level cloud conditions.
Many things will continue to evolve during the next 3-6 months. Please check the http://www.safari2000.org and the http://safari.gecp.virginia.edu websites for updates. A proposed schedule of events for data inter-comparison/calibration, presentation of the first results and formation of a JGR SAFARI2000 Special Issue is as follows:
July 2001 - Data Intercomparison/Calibration Workshop in Lusaka, Zambia
December 2001 - First Results Special Session of the Fall AGU Meeting in San Francisco
June/July 2002 - SAFARI 2000 JGR Special Issue/Wrap Up Workshop in Blydepoort, South Africa