Gulfstream Jet Aids Climate Research

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A Gulfstream V twinjet will be used to track and analyze large plumes of dust and pollution from Asia as they journey across the Pacific Ocean, according to New Scientist. The airplane is expected to start its first research mission this week to monitor the plumes, which affect cloud formation and are believed to contribute to global warming. The Gulfstream will fly at up to FL510 during the research missions, and onboard instruments will monitor plume movement and cloud formation, as well as capture dust, pollutants and cloud particles for more study. “This is the first time that an aircraft with very sophisticated instruments will be following these plumes all the way across the Pacific,” principal researcher Veerabhadran Ramanathan told New Scientist. “There is a gold mine of information out there waiting to be uncovered.”

The plumes peak in the spring when windstorms over Central Asia’s Gobi desert send huge masses of dust, soot and smog from China and other East Asian countries across the Pacific Ocean.