Six Week GCPEx Campaign Concludes

February 29 marked the last day of the GPM Cold Season Experiment. After six weeks of no snow, light snow, rain, and some nice heavy snowstorms, the GCPEx team is heading home.

ADMIRARI Instrument at the GCPEx CARE Site The ADMIRARI instrument at the CARE site with blowing light snow (11 Feb 2012)

Credit: NASA / Chris Kidd

The campaign ended with a big storm last Friday, February 24th, that put all three planes in the air over an eight hour period. They captured a wide array of different types of snow and rain from Eastern New York as the DC-8 flew in from Maine to north of the CARE site in Huronia and Georgian Bay, off of Lake Huron.

It was the DC-8's last flight for the experiment. Before the DC-8 left on its return trip to its California home at Dryden Flight Research Center in Palmdale, the GCPEx team did take a look at the forecast maps and snuck in a few more measurements by plotting a course home that would intersect with a few more snowstorms: snow over the White Mountains near Berlin, New Hampshire and Utica, New York; a lake effect snow southeast of Syracuse, New York; snow over the Finger Lakes south of Buffalo; and more lake effect snow north of Cleveland, Ohio.

The University of North Dakota Citation and Environment Canada's Convair aircraft were officially done for the mission a day later with the science team's thanks for an excellent set of flights. The mission had a total of 17 science flights.

Walt Petersen said the GCPEx mission has been a success. "The majority of the mission objectives were accomplished, especially as they pertain to collecting a broad spectrum of snowfall, mixed phase, and even rain precipitation events.

Snow covered cars at a parking lot at GCPex Parking lot at the GCPEx team's hotel in Barrie, Ontario. They were very excited to be buried in a foot of snow.

Credit: NASA / Chris Kidd

"All indications are that the airborne and ground-based instruments worked very well, meaning we expect to have a robust set of data to analyze toward supporting the development of GPM falling-snow retrieval algorithms," he said.

And that's the next big step: crunching all the data collected. We'll be checking in with Walt again as this process gets started.

We'd also like to thank all the contributors to this blog over the course of the campaign. Ben Johnson, Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Walt Petersen, Larry Bliven, Joe Munchak, Chris Kidd, and Steve Nesbitt sent in all the photos and shared their thoughts as the campaign progressed. We couldn't have done this without you!