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HIPPO II Flight #2 :: Northern Polar Regions

November 2, 2009HIPPO RF02

The NSF/NCAR G-V flew from Anchorage, AK towards the North Pole and back to Anchorage on Research Flight #02.

There were many objectives during the flight, but one important one was to sample the atmosphere as far north as they could during daylight. Steve Wofsy, HIPPO Principal Investigator explains why this is important for the HIPPO project:

This is operational: We wish to fly low, and not in clouds, both for safety reasons and because some instruments don't like to ingest liquid or frozen water. In the dark, you cannot see if there are clouds near the surface, and in the cold arctic region there very often are clouds near the surface.

In fact, there was plenty of light on our whole trip. At 80N we had a full moon directly ahead of us as we flew towards the pole, and the sun was just below the horizon to the south.

There was also a ton of pollution from Asia--the atmosphere was full of dark material, with high concentrations of CO. It is not pleasant to think that this remote area of the earth is grossly polluted, but that is the truth much of the time.

Video :: RF02 Forward Looking Camera

Wonderful pictures from Pavel Romashkin while getting ready for their polar flight:

HIPPO RF02 :: Flight Planning
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Flight Planning

HIPPO RF02 :: Morning Drive to Airport
HIPPO Phase II :: RF 02
Morning Drive to Airport

HIPPO RF02 :: Britt in Hangar
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Britt in the Hangar

HIPPO RF02 :: Engines Start
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Engine Fire Up

HIPPO RF02 :: Taxi Home
HIPPO Phsae II :: RF02

HIPPO RF02 :: On Approach
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
On Approach

AMAZING pictures by Britt Stephens, HIPPO co-Principal Investigator:

HIPPO RF02 :: Denali
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
HIPPO RF02 :: Pollution Over Arctic
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Pollution Over Arctic
HIPPO RF02 :: Cloud decks north of Barrow, AK
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Cloud decks north of Barrow, AK
HIPPO RF02 :: Moon and lead at 80° North
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Moon and lead at 80° North
HIPPO RF02 :: Mt. Redoubt and Iliamna
HIPPO Phase II :: RF02
Mt. Redoubt and Iliamna


HIPPO Phase II :: RF02 Polar Flight,  Video Clips by Ryan Spackman:

  • Flying Over Barrow, AK
  • Sunset to the Southwest
  • Full-Moon Rise


HIPPO is a landmark study for many reasons, not the least of which is it is the first time scientists have systematically mapped global distribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, covering the full troposphere in all seasons and multiple years.

  • HIPPO I :: 8 January-30 January 2009
  • HIPPO II :: 31 October-22 November 2009
  • HIPPO III :: 24 March-16 April 2010
  • HIPPO IV :: 14 June-11 July 2011
  • HIPPO V :: 9 August-9 September 2011