Campaign Background

The DLR Falcon and the Geophysica will make measurements in West Africa during the monsoon period within the framwork of the AMMA. AMMA stands for African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses and it is big project playing on different kind of levels starting from national over European to international scientific networks. For information about the AMMA project please visit the web page

AMMA international


For information about the measurements during the monsoon period - the Special Oberservation Period (SOP) monsoon have a look at the AMMA Task Team 8 (TT8) document which can be downloaded from the AMMA international ICIG document page. I once pulled an acronym list out of one AMMA document which is highly recommended and can be downloaded here.

Overall Strategy

The basic idea of the DLR Falcon and the Geophysica deployment in West Africa is to complement the measurements done by the AMMA aircraft fleet and ground based instrumentation in the Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere region up to 20 - 21 km. The whole AMMA aircraft fleet consists of 5 planes (including DLR Falcon and Geophysica). As the airport of Niamey was getting crowded the Geophysica and the German Falcon will be located at Ouagadougou military airport. A map of the region of interest can be found here.

The overall objectives are described in the AMMA TT8 planning document (AMMA TT8 document, Version 3, page 2-3, May 2006, see upper mentioned link):

1. Scientific justification and objectives
Key questions to be addressed by AMMA are listed in the International Science Plan. A number of SOP-Monsoon objectives are also defined by the funded and proposed parts of AMMA. TT8 will organise these objectives into complementary activities, and this is described in subsequent sections of this document. Appendix E lists the objectives and subprojects which are concerned with TT8.

2.1.1 Aircraft and ground-based measurement
A detailed overview of the SOP-Monsoon strategy is included in section 3 of the AMMA International Science Plan (ISP).
In order to achieve the scientific objectives related to the onset and mature monsoon phases decribed in the AMMA ISP, a synergy of observations from up to five research aircraft (F/ATR-42, F/F-20, UK/BAe146, D/F20 and EEIG/Geophysica), various ground-based stations and space-borne instruments has been designed to be operational in June–September 2006.
The overall strategy for the SOP observations is a multidisciplinary, multi-instrument approach. Research aircraft will be used to gain high temporal and spatial resolution measurements while ground-based systems will provide continuity in time. The aircraft will also be used for a ‘Lagrangian’ approach (for instance following weather systems through more than one phase of their evolution), with the groundbased systems giving an Eulerian (fixed location) view.

There are two important modes of instrument operation:
  1. Intensive observing periods (IOPs) of 1-4 days will be used to focus attention on specific events in the monsoon: notably the effects of convective rainfall events on the various environmental systems. Central to these IOPs will be the deployment of research aircraft. Prescribed IOP patterns are numbered I1, I2, …
  2. Intensive monitoring will be conducted throughout the SOP period using ground-based instruments. The activity of some of the Enhenced Oberservation Period (EOP) monitoring systems (such as the radiosonde network) will be enhanced in this period. This enhancement of monitoring systems will also involve the deployment of SOP ground instrumentation.

Table 2.1: SOP dates and periods of instrument deployment. Red = Niamey; Blue = Dakar; Yellow = Ouagadougou; Green = Dano; Orange = Djougou; Pink = ‘other’. The SOP-Monsoon periods have been subdivided into periods of coordinated aircraft deployment labelled SOP1-a, SOP2-a1, SOP2-a2 and SOP2-a3. Details of instruments are contained in Appendix B of this document.