Jetstream 31 Science Goals
The plane in the foreground is a Jetstream 31 (J31). It is flown under contract to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is one of a number of planes specially outfitted to make scientific measurements of the atmosphere. The J31 will focus on measuring the properties and radiative effects of aerosols, water vapor, clouds and surfaces, as a means of better understanding their impacts on climate and advancing spaceborne and airborne measurement science.
In addition, the J31 is a tool for measuring solar energy and how that energy is affected by the atmosphere and the Earth's surfaces. Since solar energy drives the Earth's climate, the J31 suite of measurements helps show how changing atmospheric and surface properties can change the climate.
The J31 flies with a complement of extremely specialized monitoring equipment, including the Ames Airborne Tracking Sun-photometer (AATS), the Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR), the Research Scanning Polarimeter and the Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) to name a few.
You can find a description of the aircraft used in the Milagro campaign here.