Here it is: the CSU/NCAR cloudwater collector!
The instrument is being prepared to be reinstalled in the C-130. After every flight the collection bottles are removed and we flush the system with deionized water to clean it. As you can tell from the photograph I am part way through changing out the sampling bottles.
This instrument is controlled from a laptop computer inside the C-130. When we fly through cloud, we open the cover to the collector (it's open in the picture) and choose which sampling bottle the cloud water will be collected into. Only 7 samples can be collected per flight but often we fly in cloud more than 7 times. Because of this we combine two samples from near each other to make sure we collected enough water for all of our analysis.
The collected cloud water will be analyzed back at Colorado State University and may provide insight into how the cloud formed by indicating possible CCN, how compounds inside the cloud are changed, and what sources of air pollution may be influencing the cloud.
Many of the instruments operated during VOCALS provide data that can be analyzed after a flight and in the field. We often hear about initial results after the flights and it is difficult to wait for our return to the lab where we can analyze our samples. Many exciting result may be waiting!
Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific