In Dust and Clouds Over Africa, Scientists Find Clues to How...

When the dust that wafts off the Sahel and Sahara regions of Africa mixes with tropical clouds, it creates what’s known as a rainy “disturbance”...

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NASA’s Convective Processes Experiment – Cabo Verde (CPEX-CV) is a continuation of the truncated CPEX – Aerosols and Winds (CPEX-AW) field program flown out of St. Croix, USVI between 17 August – 10 September 2021. As in CPEX-AW, CPEX-CV will fly the NASA DC-8 medium-altitude aircraft equipped with an suite of remote sensors and dropsonde-launch capability that will allow for the measurement of tropospheric aerosols, winds, temperature, water vapor, and precipitation. 

CPEX-CV will be operating out of Sal Island, Cabo Verde, the location originally intended for CPEX-AW, between 1 and 30 September 2022, with 100 available science flight hours. 

Overarching CPEX-CV Goal

Investigate atmospheric dynamics, marine boundary layer properties, convection, the dust-laden Saharan Air Layer, and their interactions across various spatial scales to improve understanding and predictability of process-level lifecycles in the data-sparse tropical East Atlantic region.

Science Objectives:

  • Improve understanding of the interactions between large-scale environmental forcings (e.g., African easterly waves, ITCZ, Saharan Air Layer, mid-level African easterly jet) and the lifecycle and properties of convective cloud systems, including tropical cyclone precursors, in the tropical East Atlantic region.
  • Observe how local kinematic (wind) and thermodynamic conditions, including the vertical structure and variability of the marine boundary layer, relate to the initiation and lifecycle of convective cloud systems and their processes (e.g., cold pools).
  • Investigate how dynamical and convective processes affect size dependent Saharan dust vertical structure, long-range Saharan dust transport, and boundary layer exchange  pathways. 
  • Assess the impact of CPEX-CV observations of atmospheric winds, thermodynamics, clouds, and aerosols on prediction of tropical Atlantic weather systems, and validate and interpret spaceborne remote sensors that provide similar measurements.