Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.

    Image courtesy of Patrick Chuang.

From: Dr. Patrick Chuang
Iquique, Chile, November 13, 2008

Airplanes of different sizes

This picture shows the cabin of the Twin Otter looking from the back of the cabin towards the cockpit. Along the left, you can see a number of instrument racks. These hold many of the instruments used on the aircraft. You can also see our fearless leader Bruce Albrecht operating the cloud radar. It's pretty obvious from the picture that this plane is quite a bit smaller than some of the other ones used in VOCALS like the NSF C-130! (Take a look at some of the other posts for pictures of the interiors of other aircraft). We typically have only two scientists on board the airplane, as compared to twenty or more on the NSF C-130. Despite the relatively small size, we manage to pack a lot of instruments onto the plane because we design the instruments to be compact and able to function without a dedicated person to watch over it. That's how we manage to collect a lot of different measurements in such a small space!

This will be my last postcard from Iquique as I'm leaving tomorrow. I hope that these posts helped you get a glimpse of what it's like to be an atmospheric scientist in the field!

Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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

En Route to Chile on the C-130 Airplane

Jobs in science can be both interesting and challenging. As an example, consider the travel involved. On October 11, 2008 we left Colorado headed for Corpus Christi (Texas), the first leg of a three day...more

End of an Exciting Flight

This photograph was taken at the end of the first C-130 flight sampling Pocket of Open Cells (POCs) regions within the stratus clouds that are more open. They have interested cloud scientists because it...more

Where Are the Windows?

I really wish I had a window on the C-130 airplane. As you can see, the cabin of the C-130 is very different from most airplanes you have probably seen. There are far fewer seats and there are racks of...more

Herculean Women

When I began working on research aircraft in 1988, there were very few women involved. Often I was the only one actually flying on the aircraft, collecting data. Over those 20 years, I've seen a small...more

Introduction to VOCALS Science

How big of a 'laboratory' would you need to conduct experiments on a climate system? Well, that probably depends on which part of Earth's climate system you want to study. In the case of the VOCALS, the...more

Greetings from Iquique!

I've participated in numerous field measurement campaigns over the past 14 years, and one of the interesting aspects of doing so is living and working in a place that is very different from my normal home...more

Rhea George

Many students in atmospheric science were motivated to enter the field by some fascinating extreme weather event experienced as a child. This was not the case with me. When I was an undergraduate I was...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF