ER-2 take off Salina Airport

Collaboration key to successes of NASA mission in Salina this...

Only a few people are able to fly one of the most difficult planes in the world, and not everyone can look at and interpret scientific data. For the N...

Salina Journal

DCOTSS Salina Journal

You may see an unusual plane flying in and out of Salina over the next few weeks after Salina Regional Airport was chosen by NASA as the base for a re...

Salina Journal

ABC News DCOTSS Coverage

NASA recently began new research to investigate how extreme summer weather may be affecting the upper layers of earth's atmosphere. Kenneth Bowman, Ph...

ABC News
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center ER-2 #809 high-altitude aircraft taking off for Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) science flights in Palmdale, CA on June 17, 2021. Credits: NASA Photo / Carla Thomas

NASA Mission Explores Intense Summertime Thunderstorms

NASA and university scientists will be studying the intense summer thunderstorms over the central United States to understand their effects on Earth...

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DCOTSS Teams Begin Integration

Teams supporting the Earth Venture Suborbital-3 project, Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS), began integration of instruments ...

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NASA embarks on five US expeditions targeting air, land and sea

NASA is sending five airborne campaigns across the United States in 2020 to investigate fundamental processes that ultimately impact human lives and t...

NASA embarks on five US expeditions targeting air, land and sea
Five new NASA field research campaigns investigating a number of phenomena across the United States get underway this year. Credits: NASA

NASA Embarks on Five U.S. Expeditions Targeting Air, Land and Sea

NASA is sending five airborne campaigns across the United States in 2020 to investigate fundamental processes that ultimately impact human lives and t...


There is a compelling need for intensive study of convective impacts on the summer stratosphere over North America. Each summer the North American Monsoon Anticyclone (NAMA) dominates the circulation of the North-Western Hemisphere and acts to partially confine and isolate air from the surrounding atmosphere. Strong convective storms in the NAMA regularly penetrate deep into the lower stratosphere (LS), with some ascending above 20 km (~450 K potential temperature). The uniqueness of the NAMA region is most easily seen in satellite measurements of water vapor, which show a large enhancement in the LS over North America not seen either in magnitude or at such high latitudes elsewhere around the globe. But the coupling of tropopause-penetrating convection with large-scale monsoonal motion is poorly understood, as is the impact of convection on the chemical composition of the LS, both in monsoon regions and in the global stratosphere, which receives inputs of moist and polluted monsoon air from the NAMA. The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) project directly addresses this knowledge gap.

The investigation overview is graphically depicted in Figure 1. The NASA ER-2 aircraft (B) will fly out of Salina, Kansas (white star in Figure 1.1A) for two planned 7-week deployments. Flights will target several different regions important to understanding the NAMA (A) including inflow regions (1), outflow regions (2) and several different types of convection including recent convection (3) and aged convection (4). During each flight that samples convection, the ER-2 will execute several vertical profiles as well as fly level transects through convective outflow (C) in order to fully characterize the plume as well as the surrounding background air.
DCOTSS Mission Concept

Figure 1

The DCOTSS instrument payload brings together twelve proven instruments for in situ measurements of important trace gases (AWAS, CAFÉ, HUPCRS, HOZ, HWV, UCATS, WI- ICOS), aerosols (PALMS, POPS), reactive species (HAL, CANOE), and meteorological parameters (MMS) necessary to answer the threshold and baseline questions. DCOTSS in situ measurements will be complemented by the NEXRAD radar network, satellite data products (e.g. Aura-MLS, ACE- FTS, GOES) and operational modeling (e.g. TRAJ3D, NASA GMAO, NOAA GFS).

Schedule Summary: DCOTSS consists of a 5-week test flight series and two, 7-week science deployments out of Salina, KS to cover the period from early to late summer. Each science deployment will consist of about 15 science flights. Significant time is devoted to post flight campaign analysis and model integration in years 4 and 5, including two science team meetings to ensure that data are widely disseminated and published before the end of the DCOTSS mission.