North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment

Mission status: Completed

Persons in Charge


George Craig, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Meteorological Institute Munich (MIM)

Mission coordinator​

 Andreas Schäfler, DLR, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Oberpfaffenhofen

Contact point at DLR-FX for this mission:

HALO Project Management: Katrin Witte

Postal address:
DLR Oberpfaffenhofen
Flugexperimente (FX)
Münchener Str. 20
82234 Weßling

Office phone:
+49 (0)8153 28-1357

HALO Deployment Base

Time Period

Sept 14 – Oct 25, 2016

Different campaign phases:

Note, that the NAWDEX mission shares the same payload with the NARVAL 2 mission, which starts before NAWDEX. So in the following table the time periods for instrument integration and tests are identical with the NARVAL 2 preparation phase.

Mission phaseDates
Payload integration20 Jun 2016 - 15 Jul 2016
EMI test flight18 Jul 2016 - 22 Jul 2016
Instrument tests (on ground)25 Jul 2016 - 5 Aug 2016
NARVAL 2 Mission in Barbados8 Aug 2016 - 31 Aug 2016
Break between missions1 Sep 2016 - 13 Sep 2016
Ferry flight Oberpfaffenhofen-Keflavik17 Sep 2016
Mission in Keflavik17 Sep 2016 - 18 Oct 2016
Ferry flight Keflavik-Oberpfaffenhofen18 Oct 2016
Instrument dismount19 Oct 2016 - 21 Oct 2016

Project description

NAWDEX is part of a broad, international field experiment under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) program High Impact Weather (HIW). An international consortium from the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany is preparing a multi-aircraft campaign over the North Atlantic, supported by enhanced surface observations, over the North Atlantic and European region. The overarching scientific aim of NAWDEX is to increase the physical understanding and to quantify the effects of diabatic processes on disturbances to the jet stream near North America, their influence on downstream propagation across the North Atlantic, and consequences for high-impact weather in Europe. The field campaign will provide a unique observational dataset, sampling the key dynamics and processes associated with the triggering, propagation and downstream impact of disturbances along the North Atlantic waveguide.

Schematic of the NAWDEX operation area and the different weather systems that are expected to impact the mid-latitude waveguide. In light blue tropical systems, in red midlatitude cyclones and in green tropopause polar vorticies that impact the evolution of Rossby waves and eventually trigger high impact weather over Europe.

For details on the international science objectives of NAWDEX please refer to the NAWDEX international webpage: www.nawdex.org

The German contribution NAWDEX aims at locating and quantifying errors in the numerical representation of midlatitude Rossby waves that are related to diabatic processes. Therefore remote sensing measurements with HALO will be carried out to obtain a comprehensive picture of the thermodynamic structure near jet streams and to quantify the impact of diabatic processes for the weather evolution over Europe. NAWDEX will study the physical processes responsible for modification, propagation and downstream impact of Rossby waves on a transatlantic scale over many days in a quasi-Lagrangian experiment. The combined airborne measurements will take place in September and October 2016. This research campaign will generate new knowledge in the field of mid-latitude dynamic meteorology.

For details on the research aims please refer to the German NAWDEX webpage: http://www.pa.op.dlr.de/nawdex/

To maximize the scientific impact of the data set, NAWDEX is closely linked to a number of institutions both on a national and an international level. The Meteorologisches Institut of the LMU Munich coordinates a proposal for a Collaborative Research Center SFB-TransRegio Waves to Weather (http://www.w2w.meteo.physik.uni-muenchen.de/). The aim of this group is the investigation of the same nonlinear dynamical and physical processes that are the central topic of NAWDEX based on model simulations and theoretical studies. The involved institutions are Universities of Mainz, Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, Munich and the DLR. The new and unique observational NAWDEX data set will be an outstanding possibility to commonly apply the theoretical methods and diagnostics close to the reality being observed by a multitude of state-of-the art remote sensing instruments. Several projects plan to collaborate and use the observational data to perform case studies and model sensitivity tests. On an international level the partners are located in the US (NPS Monterrey, NCAR, and others), in the UK (University Reading, University Manchester), in France (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique/IPSL) in Canada (Meteorological Service of Canada) and Switzerland (ETH Zürich).


    • Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg
    • German Aerospace Center, Institute of Atmospheric Physics (DLR-IPA)
    • University Hamburg
    • University of Cologne
    • Leipzig University
    • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
    • Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH)
    • German Research Foundation

Scientific instruments and payload configuration

  • List of scientific instruments for the mission:

DescriptionPrincipal investigatorInstitution
HAMP HALO Microwave Package Felix Ament
Bjorn Stevens
Univ. Hamburg
WALESWater Vapour Differential Absorption LidarAndreas Fix
Martin Wirth
HALO-SMARTSpectral Modular Airborne Radiation Measurement SystemManfred Wendisch Leipzig Univ.
HALO-DSDLR Dropsonde SystemStefan KaufmannDLR-IPA
specMACSHyperspectral Cloud and Sky ImagingBernhard MayerLMU
incl. SHARC
HALO Basic Data Acquisition System
incl. Humidity Measurement
Andreas GiezDLR-FX

Cabin and exterior configuration of HALO for the mission

HALO cabin layout for NARVAL-2/NAWDEX

HALO exterior configuration for NARVAL-2/NAWDEX

Halo flights for this mission

Aircraft registrationDateTake off - Landing / UTTotal flight time / hFrom - ToMission #
D-ADLR2016-09-1508:55:00 - 09:42:000.783EDMO - EDMO1
D-ADLR2016-09-1707:17:00 - 14:12:006.917EDMO - BIKF2
D-ADLR2016-09-2113:55:00 - 19:25:005.500BIKF - BIKF3
D-ADLR2016-09-2307:36:00 - 16:37:009.017BIKF - BIKF4
D-ADLR2016-09-2609:56:00 - 19:00:009.067BIKF - BIKF5
D-ADLR2016-09-2711:31:00 - 20:37:009.100BIKF - BIKF6
D-ADLR2016-10-0108:22:00 - 11:48:003.433BIKF - BIKF7
D-ADLR2016-10-0607:02:00 - 16:14:009.200BIKF - BIKF8
D-ADLR2016-10-0910:24:00 - 19:04:008.667BIKF - BIKF9
D-ADLR2016-10-1011:58:00 - 19:37:007.650BIKF - BIKF10
D-ADLR2016-10-1307:57:00 - 15:58:008.017BIKF - BIKF11
D-ADLR2016-10-1408:23:00 - 14:54:006.517BIKF - BIKF12
D-ADLR2016-10-1508:40:00 - 16:37:007.950BIKF - BIKF13
D-ADLR2016-10-1808:51:00 - 14:41:005.833BIKF - BIKF14

More information

Press releases, media etc

DLR news, 28-Sep-2016
In the ‚cooking pot‘ of the ‚weather kitchen‘ – research flights over the North Atlantic for better weather forecasts.   Everyone knows this situation with a weather forecast, when the presenter reveals a new Icelandic low on the map. Very soon, they are then often told, the trough of low pressure will reach the mainland and determine the weather for many days in Europe. Small errors often lead to the forecast in Europe being very uncertain for several days, because the system develops vigorously in the ‚weather kitchen‘ over the Atlantic, and that is difficult to capture in weather models. Under the leadership of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), research flights are expected to provide high-resolution data to shed more light on the weather patterns in the remote North Atlantic that are so crucial for Europe.
Read more.. (in English)   |   Weiterlesen.. (auf deutsch)

BBC news, 29-Sep-2016
Flights probe jet stream role in floods.   A major international effort is under way to research one of the greatest unknowns in weather forecasting – the influence of the jet stream. For the first time, a fleet of drones and planes is being deployed from the United States, Iceland and Britain to investigate the flow of air crossing the Atlantic.
Read more.. (in English)  

ARD-Morgenmagazin, 21-Oct-2016
NAWDEX in ARD-Morgenmagazin.  On October 21st 2016, the TV host and meteorologist Donald Bäcker presented the weather reports of the ARD-Morgenmagazin from the hangar at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. He interviewed George Craig and Andreas Schäfler about the NAWDEX campaign, the scientific questions it addressed and the instrumental challenges asociated with it.
Read more.. (in English)  

LMU research highlights, 3-Nov-2016
Spectral remote sensing of clouds during NARVAL-2 und NAWDEX.  Between August and October 2016 the LMU cloud spectrometer specMACS was part of a comprehensive remote sensing instrumentation on the research aircraft HALO. specMACS provided spectral imagery of solar radiance between 500 and 2500 nm wavelength. A swath of several kilometres width was provided along the aircraft flight track. Based on this data spatial cloud distribution, cloud phase, and cloud particle size will be provided.
Read more.. (in English)   |   Weiterlesen.. (auf deutsch)