RHUL scientists Matthias Lanoiselle (L) and James France (R)  hard at work on the first science flight of MAMM. (Photo caption: Stephane Bauguitte and Matthias Lanoiselle.)

RHUL scientists Mathias Lanoiselle (L) and James France (R) hard at work on the first science flight of MAMM. (Photo caption: Stephane Bauguitte and Mathias Lanoiselle.)

Quick update on the first science flight, which took place yesterday (Thursday 15th August). We decided that all 6(!) mission scientists would go on this flight to kick off the campaign.

We flew north from Kiruna, out over the ocean to about 73N. We flew through some clean background air (not recently polluted), and also some layers of air that had higher and more variable methane concentrations. We saw these layers 3 times at similar altitudes, and I think there were 2 distinct sources for this higher methane. We’ll need to look at the back trajectories and carbon isotopes (see this earlier post for info on what they are!)

On our way back south, we flew over Berlevaag (in Norway), where Dave Lowry was on his road trip, taking air samples. We didn’t see him from the aircraft, but he saw us!

We also saw some methane when we flew low over the forest/wetland areas. There was a clear transition between low methane over the rockier/drier areas near the northern coast, and the greener areas further south. Both Nicola and I also felt a transition between feeling fine in the north, and feeling rather queasy flying over the wetlands, where there’s a bit more warmth and a low rumble of turbulence…

Flying over methane-emitting regions of Finland. 18:43 on Thursday 16 August 2013. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

Flying over methane-emitting, nausea-inducing regions of Finland. 18:43 on Thursday 16 August 2013. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

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