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For upcoming missions, HALO will be equipped with a LiDAR system, a mass spectrometer and a nitrogen oxide detector to help understand climate effects in the Arctic region. (Credit: DLR)

For upcoming missions, HALO will be equipped with a LiDAR system, a mass spectrometer and a nitrogen oxide detector to help understand climate effects in the Arctic region. (Credit: DLR)

Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are investigating the complex processes involved in climate change and their impact on the polar atmosphere using the High Altitude and Long Range (HALO) research aircraft, which will conduct three measurement campaigns during the polar winter to analyze changes in the composition of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere above the Arctic.

Based at Kiruna in north Sweden, “HALO is the ideal all-purpose tool to conduct climate research in the northern polar region,” said Oliver Brieger, head of Flight Operations at DLR. “It can be deployed flexibly, has a range of 8,000 kilometers, plenty of space for scientific instruments, and can fly as high as 15 kilometers.”

This unique set of tools makes HALO one of the few research aircraft that can reach the North Pole.

“Climate change alters the dynamics of the atmosphere and thus has an effect on the occurrence of ice clouds in the northern polar region and the chemical reactions that take place in them. We will use our instruments to analyse these cloud processes and how they impact the ozone balance in the currently changing polar region,” explained Christiane Voigt from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics.

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