83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 1:45 PM
The Perlan Project: New Zealand Flights, Meteorological Support & Modeling
Elizabeth J. Carter, Firnspiegel LLC, Kings Beach, CA; and E. H. Teets, Jr. and S. N. Goates
Poster PDF (493.5 kB)
Phase 1 of the Perlan project to soar to 62,000 feet in a manned sailplane using stratospheric mountain waves took place in Omarama New Zealand from July 11 Ė August 11, 2002. The word Perlan is an Icelandic word meaning pearl. Perlan is the name given to this project and is inspired by mother-of-pearl or nacreous clouds occasionally seen at high altitudes and high latitudes. The mother-of-pearl or Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCís) are present in the northern hemisphere when wave outbreaks are ongoing. Phase two of the project will be to reach 100,000 feet (30 km) in a manned sailplane with atmospheric instrumentation.

Strong stratospheric mountain waves have been identified in data from Sweden and the south island of New Zealand. In Sweden the northern mountains easily perturbed the low level flow over the mountains generating tropospheric waves with the smaller northern hemisphere Polar Vortex residing over this region at high altitudes. New Zealand is favorable, even though itís located at lower latitudes because of the great size of the southern hemisphere Polar Vortex which can extend into the lower latitudes. It is known that these waves propagate into the middle and upper stratosphere when the outer region of the polar vortex lies above a strong tropospheric wind band, above mountainous terrain. Analysis shows that these waves will produce vertical wind speeds that will lift a specially designed sailplane potentially to 30 km (100,000 feet).

The details of the field project in New Zealand 2002 will be presented along with MM5 atmospheric model results of the stratospheric mountain waves as well as model runs in near-real time for meteorological support for the project. Such features at the tropopause and the structure of the stratospheric mountain waves as measured by the sailplane and modeled with MM5 will be presented.

Supplementary URL: http://www.weatherextreme.com/perlan