The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) is a series of field research investigations sponsored by the Earth Science Enterprise of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The fourth field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-4) was held in 16 August - 24 September, 2001 and was based out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida.
CAMEX-4 is focused on the study of tropical cyclone (hurricane) development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation. The primary aircraft used during CAMEX-4 were the NASA DC-8 and ER-2 research airborne platforms. These instrumented aircraft flew over, through, and around selected hurricanes as they approached landfall in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and along the east coast of the United States. The NASA aircraft investigated upper altitude regions of the hurricane not normally sampled. Where possible, measurements were compared and validated with coincident observations from the QuikSCAT, Terra, and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellites. This study yielded high spatial and temporal information of hurricane structure, dynamics, and motion. These data, when analyzed within the context of more traditional aircraft, satellite, and ground-based radar observations, provided additional insight to hurricane modelers and forecasters who continually strive to improve hurricane predictions. More accurate hurricane predictions at landfall resulted in decreasing the size of necessary coastal evacuations and increasing the warning time for those areas.
While remote sensing of the hurricane environment was the primary objective of CAMEX-4, there were also separate flights to study thunderstorm structure, precipitation systems, and atmospheric water vapor profiles. This portion of CAMEX-4 is known as KAMP, Keys Area Microphysics Project. The objective of the KAMP flights is to improve quantitative precipitation estimates from passive and active microwave instruments.
The DC-8 was based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. Aircraft operations were within a 1500 nm radius of Jacksonville. The KAMP flights were approximately 300 nm from the air station near Key West Florida. The NASA DC-8 and ER-2 were the primary aircraft platforms for CAMEX-4. NASA also funded the flight of several unmanned aerial vehicles called the AEROSONDE.
Dr. Ramesh Kakar (Program Manager for Atmospheric
Dynamics and Remote Sensing at NASA Headquarters) is the CAMEX-4
sponsor. CAMEX-4 is conducted in collaboration with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Research
Division and the United
States Weather Research Program (USWRP).
EDOP nadir radar reflectivity (left) and Doppler velocity (right)
in an east-west section across the Dominican Republic and its main
mountain ridge around 23:15 UTC on 22 September 1998. The Doppler
velocity includes both air motion and hydrometeor fallspeed. This
image was taken during the CAMEX-3 field experiment.
CAMEX-4 region of interest with range rings centered on Jacksonville
Naval Air Station (JAX NAS). The research aircraft will typically
fly tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico
within 800 nautical miles of the Jacksonville base of operations.
Click Image to View the Latest GOES-8 Infrared Satellite Imagery
Four passive microwave observations, at different frequencies, of
Hurricane Bonnie as viewed by the AMPR instrument aboard the NASA
ER-2. Each frequency detects varying amounts of precipitation, water
vapor, and cloud ice crystals (26 Aug 1998).