Shop Windows to the Universe

Please help support Windows to the Universe, and our activities to help Earth and space science teachers, with a tax-exempt donation today!

    Courtesy of Judy Lloyd

From: Judy Lloyd
Veracruz, March 13, 2006

Aboard the Gulfstream G1 Airplane

Hi again-

I flew from Mexico City to Veracruz yesterday to see how the aircraft operation was going. Our airplane is the Grumman Gulfstream 1 (G1) operated by the United States Department of Energy. It’s a twin turbo-prop plane that carries five scientists along with lots of equipment to measure trace gases and particles of all sizes. We pull outside air into our instruments through small openings in the windows and nose. There’s an onboard computer where we can watch the flight track and the composition of the air in real time as we fly.

I am working on the G1 with Linda Bowerman, measuring the amount of peroxide in the air. That’s Linda in the picture, working on the plane with the peroxide analyzer we built in our laboratory. Peroxides are natural end products of chemistry that goes on in Earth's atmosphere, and are present in small quantities even in very clean air. In a warm moist climate with pollution from hydrocarbons, we expect to see lots of peroxides. They may be responsible for some of the haze we see during pollution episodes. So far, we haven’t observed more than the usual amount, but it has been pretty dry during our first few flights. We’ll keep looking, to be sure we understand the complicated chemistry of the atmosphere!

Judy

Photochemical smog

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

MILAGRO Instruments

Researchers will set up instruments on the ground during MILAGRO to make observations and measurements about the air around Mexico City that can't be made from aircraft. Here are a few examples of the...more

Hydrogen Peroxide - H2O2

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a chemical compound consisting of two oxygen atoms and two hydrogen atoms. It is a clear liquid at normal temperatures and pressures. Hydrogen peroxide is a very reactive chemical....more

Hydrocarbons

There is a large class of important chemical compounds whose molecules are made up entirely of carbon and hydrogen atoms. These compounds, as a group, are called "hydrocarbons". Hydrocarbons are the critical...more

Photochemical Smog

Smog is a type of air pollution. Smog is a mixture of smoke and fog, hence the name (SMoke + fOG = SMOG). Victorian-era London was famous for its thick smogs, which resulted from the city's frequent, naturally...more

Light extinction of particles

Not all particles are the same, many of them have different shape, size, and composition. Some of them reflect or scatter light, and others absorb it. Two instruments on the image, photometer and nephelometer,...more

What does Tecamac mean?

Measuring site T1 is in Tecámac. This is a little town close to Mexico City. The name Tecámac is a Náhuatl word, an ancient Mexico's language, spoken by Aztecs. In Náhuatl, Tetl or Tec means stone, camatl...more

Peroxides Measured at the T1 Site

Hello again: We are nearing the end of our field campaign in Mexico. It has been a real adventure, with friendly people, great food, and interesting science. I obtained some good hydrogen peroxide measurements...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA