2016 El Niño Rapid Response Field Campaign Including Global Hawk

The current major El Niño presents an unprecedented scientific opportunity to accelerate advances in understanding and predictions of an extreme climate event and its impacts through research conducted while the event is ongoing. ESRL’s Physical Sciences Division (PSD) is playing a central role in the NOAA Rapid Response Field Campaign, which will take place from late January through the end of March 2016. Scientists are set to launch a land, sea, and airborne research effort to better observe and document the responses to the current strong El Niño. Intensive observations gathered in the tropical Pacific will provide a foundation to better understand how El Niño influences U.S. weather. The results will help scientists to better predict how climate phenomena like El Niño influence weather and climate extremes and their impacts.

In the Field

  • The NOAA G-IVaircraft will fly out of Honolulu, Hawaii carrying a suite of meteorological sensors and deploying dropsondes during an estimated 20 research flights from mid January to early March.

  • The NOAA Research Vessel Ron Brown will launch up to 8-times daily radiosondes on the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) survey cruise from February 16 to March 18, 2016 (Honolulu to San Diego).

  • On Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, approximately 1,340 miles south of Honolulu, a radiosonde sounding system is being set up with twice-a-day vertical soundings made continuously from mid-January through March 2016.

  • A scanning X-Band radar will be deployed to the south San Francisco Bay as a gap filling radar, which will provide the more accurate rainfall estimates for the region that are needed to better manage and mitigate negative impacts starting in mid January.

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