The Thompson welcomed a visit from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on Sunday. This flight crew is stationed in the Keesler Airforce base in Biloxi Mississippi, where they keep an eye on Tropical Storms developing in the Atlantic. However, for the next 10 days or so they will be flying missions out of Colombo, sampling the atmosphere (temperature, pressure, winds and relative humidity) over very large-scales while flying from the Equatorial Indian Ocean up through the Bay of Bengal. On Sunday, they surveyed the Bay of Bengal taking a swing by the Thompson, where they launched a dropsonde (similar to the radiosondes– but dropped high-up with a parachute instead of launching from the surface with a balloon) and flew a calibration profile (the plane circles from 20’000 ft to 1000 ft sampling while underway) for comparison with the ship-based atmospheric measurements. The plane also left behind a few systems for the ocean: a wave buoy (measures surface waves), a surface drifter (measures upper ocean currents), and an Alamo float (profiles temperature and salinity over the upper ocean). These ocean measurements will continue after the Thompson heads back to port, expanding the footprint of our observations in time.


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