SALTRACE - A German-Barbadian Scientific Cooperation

SALTRACE Enlarge image SALTRACE (© Botschaft)

The Saharan Aerosol Long-range Transport and Aerosol-Cloud-Interaction Experiment (SALTRACE)

Aerosol particles have been identified to cause most of the uncertainties in current quantifications of climate change forcing. Among aerosols, mineral dust particles are of key importance because they contribute to about half of the global annual particle emissions by mass and act as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei. In spite of substantial progress in the past decade, many questions in our understanding of the climate effects of mineral dust remain open such as for example the change of dust size distribution during transport across the Atlantic Ocean and the associated impact on the radiation budget, the role of wet and dry dust removal mechanisms during transport across the Atlantic Ocean, the complex interaction between mineral dust and clouds, and the influence of the Saharan Air Layer on tropical cyclone activity.

To improve our understanding of the long-range transport of Saharan mineral dust across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean, the Saharan Aerosol Long-range Transport and Aerosol-Cloud-Interaction Experiment (SALTRACE: http://www.pa.op.dlr.de/saltrace/ ) was conducted in June/July 2013. For SALTRACE, the DLR research aircraft Falcon was stationed on Cape Verde between 10 and 17 June, and at Grantly International Airport, Barbados, between 18 June and 11 July. In addition ground-based lidar and in-situ instruments were deployed at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in Bridgetown and at Ragged Point, Barbados SALTRACE Enlarge image SALTRACE (© Botschaft)

During SALTRACE, several dust outbreaks were studied and mineral dust was measured with the German research aircraft Falcon between Senegal, Cape Verde, Caribbean and Florida. One of the highlights during SALTRACE was the sampling of a dust plume in the Cape Verde area on 17 June, which was again measured with the same instrumentation on the DLR Falcon research aircraft on 21 and 22 June in the Barbados area. The whole event was also captured by the ground-based  lidar and in-situ instrumentation.  Another highlight was the formation of tropical storm Chantal in the dusty environment.

SALTRACE is a German initiative which combined ground-based and airborne in-situ and lidar measurements with meteorological data, long-term measurements, satellite remote sensing and modeling to investigate the long-range transport of Saharan mineral dust across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbeanto close open gaps in our understanding of mineral dust in the climate system.

SALTRACE involves scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (Tropos) Leipzig, the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) Oberpfaffenhofen, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich, the Technical University of Darmstadt (TU-D), the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) Hamburg, the University of Valladolid (Spain), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (Barbados), the University of Miami (USA), the University of Puerto Rico (USA), NASA (USA), and  the Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systemes Atmospheriques (France).