Atmospheric and Earth System Research with HALO

(High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft)

Effect of Megacities on the Transport and Transformation of Pollutants on the Regional and Global Scale - EMeRGe-EU

Mission Time Period:


July 2017, Mission completed


March - April 2018, Mission completed  

Principle Investigators 

Participation Institutes

EMeRGe exploits the unique capabilities of the HALO aircraft research platform to investigate the impact of emissions of major population centers (MPC) on air pollution at local, regional and hemispheric scales by making dedicated airborne measurement campaigns, coupled interpretation and modelling studies of primarily the short lived climate pollutants, i.e. reactive gases, temporary reservoirs, and aerosol particles.

The main objective of EMeRGe is the study of the transport and transformation of plumes from selected European and Asian MPC with special focus on the rate of formation of ozone and aerosols. Key scientific questions are the dispersion and transport patterns, the factors dominating the chemical transformation of MPC emissions, the regional, hemispheric and global effect of European and Asian MPC in the change of atmospheric composition, the relevance of emission from European and Asian MPC for radiative forcing and climate change, and the adequacy of chemical models for the simulation of transport and transformation processes of European and Asian MPC plumes.

Two field campaigns using an optimized payload of measurements on board the HALO platform based in Europe and Asia are planned for summer 2017 and April 2018 respectively. The composition of the plumes of pollution entering and leaving Europe and leaving Asia will be measured by performing optimized transects and vertical profiling. This strategy enables the outflow from a variety of MPC, having different characteristics, to be studied in quasi-Lagrangian approach and therefore to identify differences and commonalities in the transport, and transformation of the outflow from European and Asian MPC.

Ground based and satellite instrumentation will also be used to complement and enhance the interpretation of the unique snapshot of key atmospheric parameters and trace constituents provided by the EMeRGe measurement payload on HALO. This combined data set will be used to synergistically constrain our knowledge and test our understanding in modeling studies. In addition the EMeRGe airborne measurements will provide a unique opportunity for validation and upscaling of satellite data products.

An additional overarching objective is to stimulate measurements and modelling studies, within an international EMeRGe research partnership with the European, Asian, and American science community. This will facilitate a much more comprehensive integrated analysis of all set of observational data products (i.e. aircraft, ground and satellite based data), making EMeRGe a milestone in the study of the transport and transformation of plumes from MPC.

Further Information



17 July 2017  HALO research aircraft measures emissions from major cities