SAMUM – SAharan Mineral dUst experiMent

SAMUM – A joint research campaign in South Morocco

A flight experiment has been successfully completed in summer 2006.

A consortium of research establishments investigated the impact of natural dust onto atmospheric properties. Since the Sahara is one of the main sources of mineral dust the location for the joint field experiment was decided to be in southern parts of Morocco.
Two ground stations with extensive in-situ and remote sensing instrumentation and two aircraft performed extensive measurements during summer 2006.
enviscope GmbH contributed with the operation of the research aircraft Partenavia P68B D-GERY equipped with scientific instruments.The flight missions had different key aspects:

One focus of the Partenavia instrumentation was the investigation of the radiative properties of mineral dust suspended in the atmosphere. Down- und up-welling radiation was measured with a multi channel spectrometer ranging from near IR to 0.3 nm with optical inlets mounted on a precisely horizontalized platform.

The second focus was set on size fractionated single particle sampling with MOCIS. The flight pattern has been co-ordinated with the DLR Falcon based at Casablanca, the ground based stations at Quarzazate and Zagora, and several satellite overpasses (MERIS, MISR) during the research campaign.

15 missions have been flown safely to dedicated mission areas where remote sensing and in-situ aerosol instruments were operated by the joint research partners. Several flights could be performed under high dust concentrations. Low level flights under these conditions have been a great challeng for aircraft, crew and instruments but the gained scientific data are very promising to learn more about the impact of mineral dust to the troposphere.
The Partenavia P68B was employed under extraordinary conditions in the desert regions of south Morocco. The operational basis was at Ouarzazate, south of the Atlas Mountains in the direct vicinity of the Sahara desert.

The technical and administrative preparation of a flight campaign with high sensitive scientific equipment from a remote site like Ouarzazate was a challenging but delightful task for enviscope.

More information about this DFG funded program can be derived from the SAMUM project website.

The enviscope contribution with aircraft measurements has been a continuation of our ground based activities during Sahara Dust Transport measurements in the eastern parts of Morocco in 1996 and 1997.