It is DAY 15… If this were 2020 we would have by now had 5-6 or so successful research flights with HALO and perhaps twice as many with the ATR-42. We would have flown through meso-scale patches of convection as large as our 200 km experimental area for HALO/ATR operations (making the radar people happy), and we would have had lots of flights with just little speckles of clouds, not unlike today. Just look at the changes in the cloud pattern. Barbados (with a maximum width of about 20 km) in the very lower left sets the scale. Looking at the (14 UTC) satellite imagery you would have never guessed at the three layer structure that was evident in the earlier (7 UTC) radar image, with three clear layers of stratiform clouds being fed by convection somewhere. This is also beautifully evident in the the 12 Z sounding. Interestingly, after 12 Z, in agreement with the MODIS image, we see all of the stratiform layers vanish, and just tiny little clouds rising out of the subcloud layer (Fig 3)… well and as it turns out the wind has been tying… let’s see if it picks up again with the arrival of bigger clusters and more mesoscale cloud forms later this evening or tomorrow morning.
Yesterday I also got a call, thanks to Eberhard Bodenschatz, from Sandy Allsopp, who develops the Helikite. Check it out, it is a wonderful platform for insitu cloud profiling, something we plan to do in combination with Bodenschatz using ship based platforms during EUREC4A.