This aircraft is a modified Gulfstream V jet and can carry 5600 pounds of weather instruments that collect data from the Earth's atmosphere. The aircraft is maintained and operated for the National Science Foundation by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
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Image courtesy of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Scientists sometimes travel in specially outfitted airplanes in order to gather data about atmospheric conditions. These research aircraft have special inlet ports that bring air from the outside into the plane so scientists can sample it and make measurements. Some research airplanes also carry radar and other special instruments.
Airplanes can collect information about many different components of the atmosphere, including aerosols, cloud physics, atmospheric chemistry, high level winds, and radiation. They can also carry camera to take photographs of clouds from up in the air. Scientists use the information gathered by aircraft to learn more about topics like how clouds form, the effects of air pollution in the atmosphere, and what causes turbulence.
Research aircraft can fly as high as 20,000 kilometers (approximately 65,000 feet). Ships can also carry instruments that gather data about the atmosphere, the ocean, weather, and climate.
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