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last modified 2011-02-08 10:43
NASA – ARCTAS (Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites)

The Arctic is undergoing significant environmental changes related to global climate change. NASA is extensively studying the role of air pollution in this climate-sensitive region as part of the ARCTAS field campaign, the largest airborne experiment ever to do so.

Organization: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country: USA
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska/ Cold Lake, Alberta
Platform: DC8 & P3 aircraft
Dates: April 1-21, 2008/ June 26 – August 14, 2008
Contact: J Crawford, NASA & D Jacob, Harvard



Daily Schedule

Flight Plans and Reports

Some Photos from the Field

ARCTAS logoForecast Products


The Arctic is a beacon of global change. It is where warming has been strongest over the past century, accelerating over the past decades. It is an atmospheric receptor of pollution from the northern mid­latitudes continents, as manifested in particular by thick aerosol layers ("arctic haze") and by accumulation of persistent pollutants such as mercury.

It is increasingly beset by emissions from massive forest fires in boreal Eurasia and North America. Perturbations to the arctic environment trigger unique regional responses including melting of ice sheets and permafrost, decrease in snow albedo due to deposition of black carbon,and halogen radical chemistry from sea salt aerosols deposited to the ice.

These responses make the Arctic a particularly vulnerable place, subject to dramatic amplification of environmental change with possibly global consequences. The urgent need for research to better understand changes in arctic atmospheric composition and climate is discussed by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment ( ) and the U. S. Global Change Research Program ( Major research activities to address this need will take place in 2007­2008 under the auspices of the Third International Polar Year (IPY; ).

For more information about the ARCTAS Project visit:


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