January / February 2013

Follow-up of the IOP campaign (Intensive Observation Period) from Bauru, Brazil.

The teams of three French institutes (GSMA, DT-INSU, LATMOS) are back in Bauru for the follow-up and the end of TRO-pico IOP campaign. The flight programme started last year in March is going on with a series of flight under 500 m3 or 1500 m3 zero pressure balloons, 1.2 kg sounding balloons, related to deep convective events, and radiosondes at regular time intervals. This last phase of the campaign, at the maximum of the convective activity, has begun on January 18, 2013 with a first flight of the two instruments pico-SDLA H2O et pico-SDLA CO2 under a same 1500 m3 balloon. CO2 is used here as a dynamical tracer of the vertical transport to the stratosphere. The flight occurred nominally and both instruments were recovered safely and without damage.

A video of the launch is available at:

Last check

Last check of the instruments pico-SDLA CO2 and H2O on the launch pad on January 18, 2013.

January 18, 2013 Flight

January 18, 2013 Flight : Flight train view during the balloon inflation.

Balloon launch

Balloon launch

Flight balloon

In flight balloon carrying pico-SDLA CO2 (top) and pico-SDLA H2O (bottom)

February 23: beginning of an intensive 15 day period of radiosounding (~4 RS/day)

▪ On the evening of February 25 is the Russian hygrometer FLASH and backscatter sonde COBALD who flew in a highly convective environment, several convective cells reaching 18 km in the lower stratosphere.

Preparations of the flight-train composed of the instruments FLASH and COBALD on February 25, 2013.

▪ On February 26, the laser hygrometer pico-SDLA H2O and the particle counter LOAC flew close to very intense convection also exceeding 17.5 kilometers. A photo of the launch is shown below. Both (February 25 and February 26) observation cases of overshoots, a priority in the objectives of TRO-pico will complement the statistics of the impact of overshoots on water balance in the TTL.

litghning behind the balloon of the Pico-SDLA H2O and LOAC flight on January 26 2013 (picture, S. Maeda, IPMET)

On the evening of January 27 10:41 UT, FLASH and COBALD flew in a low convective environment but downstream of intense convection distant on the northern / northeast border of the state of São Paulo, followed the next morning on January 28 at 11:50 UT by the flight of pico-SDLA H2O. The idea was to intercept stratospheric air from the intense convection heading Bauru.

Pico-SDLA H2O gondola on January 28 2013 short after the take-off.

On 29 January, in suppressed convection conditions ran a test flight of the new pico-SDLA CH4 gondola, lighter than the one which had flown in March 2012 during the first phase of the IOP.

On January 30, the COBALD probe flew under a 800 g rubber balloon. This flight was dedicated to the calibration in altitude of cirrus layers measured by the ground-based instrument ODS (Optical Depth Sensor).

On January 31st, in a moderate to severe convective environment, the first flight of the couple pico-pico-SDLA H2O and CH4 has taken place, to measure water vapor and stratospheric source under the same 1500 m3 balloon. At least one convective cell reached the tropopause that night.
February 1st is marked by the development of several convective cells reaching 17.5 to 18 km altitude in the lower stratosphere. The instrument pico SDLA H2O was launched at dusk to try to intercept the stratospheric air from these overshoots. Two hours and a half later, it's the flight train FLASH + COBALD who completed sampling the convective case. It marked the culmination of a particularly dry period of TTL, whose beginnings were felt from January 28.

Balloon and flight-train of the pico-SDLA H2O flight on February 1st 2013

On February 4, 2013, pico-SDLA H2O and pico-SDLA CH4 has flown under the same balloon in moderate convection and still during the very dry TTL period.

On the night of February 5 to 6, the flight-train FLASH and COBALD flew near convective cells above the lapse rate tropopause, relatively low on that day, but below the cold opint. Above the lapse rate tropopause a large hydration signal was measured.

On the evening of February 6, an attempt to launch pico-SDLA H2O + LOAC was conducted in a highly convective surroundings (see photo below). The balloon was unfortunately unable to reach the stratosphere, probably due to a tear of the latter by icing of a large amount of water during the ascent of the balloon in a thick cloud. Data acquired in the troposphere are still usable.

Launch of the flight train pico-SDLA H2O +LOAC on February 6, 2013, in highly convective conditions

A few hours later on February 7, a rubber balloon carrying FLASH and COBALD was launched.

In the night of February 9 to 10, this same flight-train flew again, in a moister TTL, showing again some hydration signal between the lapse rate and the cold point tropopauses.

February 10 evening, it's a flight Pico-SDLA H2O + pico-SDLA CH4 held. In the west and southeast of intense convective cells were observed. Measurements of methane were used here as a tracer of rapid vertical transport by overshoots.

A few hours later, on February 11 a unprecedented flight-train FLASH-COBALD-LOAC was launched. This flight allowed two new comparisons: the intercomparison between FLASH et Pico-SDLA H2O on the one hand, for the second time the whole TRO-pico campaign, and the intercomparison of two instrument measuring aerosols and particules: LOAC and COBALD

The last flight of the IOP for pico-SDLA instruments occurred on the evening of February 11 with the CO2 and H2O combination. Possible high convective cells in the south/south-east were upstream of the balloon

The Closure flight of the campaign occurred the following night (Feb. 13) with again, the FLASH COBALD LOAC flight-train (see picture below) with possibly, overshooting convection caught by the balloon.

Time to go back home !!!

November / December 2012

A team from the GSMA and DT-INSU went to IPmet / UNESP in Bauru in early November, to re-initiate the campaign SMOP (six month observation period) TRO-pico, which aims at studying the variations of stratospheric water vapor during the whole wet season (about six month) using the pico-SDLA instrument from the two institutes mentioned above. Since the French participants cannot remain on site throughout the wet season, the goal is to transfer know-how and teaching to the Brazilian IPmet scientists how to prepare and perform SDLA pico-H2O flights, maintain the instrument in the absence of the French. This journey was also an opportunity to finalize on site the final preparations for the second phase of the intensive campaign (so-called IOP) during the peak of the convective season in January-February 2013.


Remotemonitoring software training of the SMOP balloon flights of the SDLA pico-H2O instrument.


Training ofIPMET scientists to launch balloons for the the TRO-pico SMOP campaign: unfolding of the balloon under the supervision of URCA and DT-INSU trainers.


Launch of the balloon by the Brazilian team during the training.

The firstflight of the SMOP campaign operated by the IPMET scientist alone (SMOP # 2) took place on 21 November 2012 21TU. The flight went perfectly, the instrument was recovered the same evening in good shape, the raw data have been transferred to France the next day for profile retrieval. It is the very first time that the instrument was operated and launch by non specialsts of laser spectrometers.

A video of thelaunch is available on the link below :

A secondflight took place on December 4 at 20: 45 UT, which was also successful :

A third flight was operated in the night December 14 to December 15, 2012.

Video of the launch:

A last SMOP flight before the come-back of the French teams in Brazil took place in the evening of December 20, 2012.

Video of the launch:


Preparation, inflation and launch of the balloon for flight # 3 SMOP instrument SDLA pico-H2O.


July 2012

The initially 4 year project TRO-pico is extended to one more year to allow the interpretation and the analysis of the Bauru 2013 forthcoming campaign.

Sergey Khaykin (postdoc LATMOS) has given a double seminar at ETH Zurich : he presented both the results of the FLASH hygrometer and the backscatter sonde COBALD, as well as more general results from the TRO-pico march 2012 campaign in Bauru.

June 2012

Post-campaign meeting of the TRO-pico consortium on June 14 and 15 at GSMA in Reims. This meeting allows putting together different instrument results and uptading the short-term roadmap including the priority studies to carry out after the Bauru March 2012 campaign.

April 2012

Presentation of the first results of TRO-pico during the EGU General assembly in Vienna, Austria (3 posters and 1 oral presentation), April 22-27, 2012.

March 2012

Balloon campaign can start. First expected flight on March 1rst or March 2nd. The FLASH hygrometer and the COBALD backscatter sonde will be flown, under the PIship of LATMOS. The Pico-SDLA H2O laser hygrometer should fly 2 days later.

March 4, 2012 : opening of the IOP balloon campaign with the light FLASH lyman alpha hygrometer and the COBALD backscatter sonde.

March 9, 2012 : opening of the SMOP campaign : the pico-SDLA H2O laser hygrometer has flown in colocalisation with IASI onboard the METOP satellite.
It was followed by a flight of the FLASH+COBALD flight-train to allow a comparison of both hygrometers.


March 11, 2012, two flights of the IOP campaign took place :
- A flight of the UV-Visible SAOZ (O3, NO2) under a 1500 m3 balloon
- A flight of pico-SDLA H20 with the LOAC particle counter under a 500 m3 balloo

March 13, 2012, two flights of the IOP campaign took place in a relatively active convection activity :

- A flight of pico-SDLA H20 with the LOAC particle counter under a 500 m3 balloon
- A flight of FLASH+COBALD under a sonding balloon.


February 2012

The NOTAM (Notice to AirMen) has been published by the Air Traffic Control. It notifies the possible balloon flights in a given area.

Part of the campaign material has been cleared and shipped to IPMET. The instruments are being prepared


January 2012

The intensive radiosounging campaign (~4 soundings per day during one month), in the frame of task 2 of TRO-pico has begun on Saturday, 28.

November - December 2011


Visit of Emmanuel Rivière and Jean-Pierre Pommereau, coordinator and co-coordinator of the project, respectively, at IPMET in Bauru.


This visit was dedicated to the last preparation of the campaign on the following points : choice of the balloon and radiosonde launch fields, use of offices during the campaign, organization of the flight control room, flight authorization from the air traffic control, etc. Two seminars were given at IPMET to present the TRO-pico project to the IPMET staff.


Convection developping above IPMET/UNESP, Bauru (November 29, 2011)


November 2011

The coolaboration agreement between URCA, CNRS-INSU, and UNESP was just signed by all parties. This agreement defines the roles and responsabilities of each French and Brazilian partners, particularly during the campaign. This agreement is mandatory for the campaign to occur.

January 2011

The kick-off meeting of the TRO-pico ANR project, coordinated by GSMA, took place at GSMA on January 26, 2011. The total budget of the project is 600 k€ for 4 years. The aim of TRO-pico is to study the water budget around and across the tropical tropopause, and more precisely to study the relative impact of rapid entry water into the stratosphere (overshooting convection) with respect to the slow transport at large scale. Four partners participate in this project (GSMA, LATMOS+LMD/IPSL in Guyancourt and Palaiseau, LA+CNRM in Toulouse and DT-INSU in Meudon) with the help of LPC2E (Orléans) and of l'IPMet in Bauru, Sao Paulo State, Brazil.
The aim of this kick-off meeting was to refine the roadmap of each partner, the interactions between each partner, to define the common working tools, and to choose the best strategy for the campaign flights and the campaign organization.