Kansas and the Central High Plains are known for its thunderstorms over the summer. This is why a research project is being based out of Salina. Scientists from NASA, several universities including Texas A&M, Purdue and Harvard are taking part along with other weather organizations. The goal to see how thunderstorms affect climate and the ozone layer.
Our weather happens in the trosphere or the first 9 miles of the atmosphere from the ground up. Some of the strongest thunderstorms will have overshooting tops that will stretch into the next layer of the atmosphere, or the stratosphere. We know that ozone is located in this section which protects us from dangerous ultraviolet rays. Researchers are looking at how water vapor and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols are transferred through the sky in thunderstorms. The NASA ER-2 high altitude aircraft is studying the chemistry of the stratophere and has already been on four missions with many more planned this summer.
–Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman