Reef to rainforest campaign

It was all aboard the RV Investigator to take some unprecedented atmospheric measurements.

by Claire Vincent

During September-October 2016, several ARCCSS researchers and PhD students were part of an exciting experimental campaign to take field measurements from the CSIRO Marine National Facility’s RV Investigator ship in the Great Barrier Reef National Park and from Mission Beach in Queensland.

Together with collaborators from NIWA (NZ), we flew a 9m3 helium balloon attached to a kite (the ‘helikyte’) to a height of 600m from the back deck of the RV Investigator. The balloon carried a precious payload of measurement devices, including instruments to measure winds, pressure, temperature, humidity and a range of atmospheric aerosols.


The helikyte takes to the skies with a payload of instruments

We took unprecedented measurements of the tropical sea breeze 100-150 km offshore, as well as measurements to support the PhD work of Sushma Chen Reddy, Sonya Fiddes and Rob Ryan (all ARCCSS graduate students). We were supported by an ARCCSS early career researcher grant that allowed us to travel to Queensland to join the campaign.

Coincident with the RV Investigator campaign, a dedicated team ran ‘AIRBOX', a mobile atmospheric chemistry measurement laboratory from a nearby coastal site at Mission Beach.

Together, the onshore and offshore datasets provided a unique opportunity to observe the relationships between biogeochemistry and the sea-breeze circulation over the land and sea.

High-resolution modeling supported the measurements made during the ‘Reef to Rainforest’ ship- and land-based campaigns. The analysis of our very exciting datasets is ongoing.

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