Observations from the NOAA P-3 aircraft during ATOMIC

Robert Pincus, Chris W. Fairall, Adriana Bailey, Haonan Chen, Patrick Y. Chuang, Gijs De Boer, Graham Feingold, Dean Henze, Quinn T. Kalen, Jan Kazil, Mason Leandro, Ashley Lundry, Ken Moran, Dana A. Naeher, David Noone, Akshar J. Patel, Sergio Pezoa, Ivan Popstefanija, Elizabeth J. Thompson, James WarneckePaquita Zuidema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign (ATOMIC), part of the larger experiment known as Elucidating the Role of Clouds-Circulation Coupling in Climate (EUREC4A), was held in the western Atlantic during the period 17 January-11 February 2020. This paper describes observations made during ATOMIC by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Lockheed WP-3D Orion research aircraft based on the island of Barbados. The aircraft obtained 95ĝ€¯h of observations over 11 flights, many of which were coordinated with the NOAA research ship R/V Ronald H. Brown and autonomous platforms deployed from the ship. Each flight contained a mixture of sampling strategies including high-altitude circles with frequent dropsonde deployment to characterize the large-scale environment, slow descents and ascents to measure the distribution of water vapor and its isotopic composition, stacked legs aimed at sampling the microphysical and thermodynamic state of the boundary layer, and offset straight flight legs for observing clouds and the ocean surface with remote sensing instruments and the thermal structure of the ocean with in situ sensors dropped from the plane. The characteristics of the in situ observations, expendable devices, and remote sensing instrumentation are described, as is the processing used in deriving estimates of physical quantities. Data archived at the National Center for Environmental Information include flight-level data such as aircraft navigation and basic thermodynamic information (, 10.25921/7jf5-wv54); high-accuracy measurements of water vapor concentration from an isotope analyzer (, 10.25921/c5yx-7w29); in situ observations of aerosol, cloud, and precipitation size distributions (, 10.25921/vwvq-5015); profiles of seawater temperature made with Airborne eXpendable BathyThermographs (AXBTs;, 10.25921/pe39-sx75); radar reflectivity, Doppler velocity, and spectrum width from a nadir-looking W-band radar (, 10.25921/n1hc-dc30); estimates of cloud presence, the cloud-top location, and the cloud-top radar reflectivity and temperature, along with estimates of 10ĝ€¯m wind speed obtained from remote sensing instruments operating in the microwave and thermal infrared spectral regions (, 10.25921/x9q5-9745); and ocean surface wave characteristics from a Wide Swath Radar Altimeter (, 10.25921/qm06-qx04). Data are provided as netCDF files following Climate and Forecast conventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3281-3296
Number of pages16
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 12 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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