Last change of this page: 12 Jan 2017  

Deployment base.. Time period.. Description.. Principal investigators.. Partners.. Instruments.. Flights.. More information.. Press, media, photo gallery .. FX contact point ..

Mission acronym, title and status


"North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment"


Mission status:     Campaign successfully completed.  


HALO deployment base

Enlarge map..


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 phase Dates HALO in ..
Payload integration 20.06.2016-15.07.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen
EMI test flight 18.07.2016-22.07.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen
Instrument tests (on ground) 25.07.2016-05.08.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen
NARVAL 2 Mission in Barbados 08.08.2016-31.08.2016 Bridgetown, Barbados
Break between missions 01.09.2016-13.09.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen
Ferry flight Oberpfaffenhofen-Keflavik 17.09.2016  
Mission in Keflavik 17.09.2016-18.10.2016 Keflavik, Iceland
Ferry flight Keflavik-Oberpfaffenhofen 18.10.2016  
Instrument dismount 19.10.2016-21.10.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen


Short 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:

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:

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 ( 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).


Principal investigators

Principal investigator

  • George Craig, Meteorologisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Scientific campaign coordinator



  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Meteorologisches Institut
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre (DLR-IPA)
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Bonn
  • Universität Hamburg, Meteorologisches Institut
  • Universität Köln, Institut für Geophysik und Meteorologie
  • Universität Leipzig, Leipziger Institut für Meteorologie


Scientific instruments and payload configuration

List of scientific instruments for the mission:

Scientific instrument acronym Description Principal investigator Institution Remarks
HAMP HALO Microwave Package Felix Ament
Björn Stevens
Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg;
Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg;
DLR Institut für Physik dr Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen
WALES Water vapour and particle Lidar Andreas Fix
Martin Wirth
DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen  
HALO-SMART Spectral Modular Airborne Radiation Measurement System Manfred Wendisch Leipziger Institut für Meteorologie, Univ. Leipzig  
HALO-DS DLR Dropsonde System Stefan Kaufmann DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen  
specMACS Hyperspectral cloud and sky imaging Bernhard Mayer Meteorologiches Institut, Ludwig Maximilian Univ. München  
BAHAMAS incl. SHARC HALO basic data acquisition system incl. humidity measurement Andreas Giez DLR Flugexperimente, Oberpfaffenhofen  


Cabin and exterior configuration of HALO for the mission:

HALO cabin layout for NARVAL-2/NAWDEX (pdf document, 498 kB)

HALO exterior configuration for NARVAL-2/NAWDEX


HALO flights for this mission

Date Takeoff time (UT) Landing time (UT) Total flight time
FromToType Comment
D-ADLR15.09.201608:55:0009:42:000.783EDMOEDMOFunctional test flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR17.09.201607:17:0014:12:006.917EDMOBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR21.09.201613:55:0019:25:005.500BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR23.09.201607:36:0016:37:009.017BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR26.09.201609:56:0019:00:009.067BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR27.09.201611:31:0020:37:009.100BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR01.10.201608:22:0011:48:003.433BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR06.10.201607:02:0016:14:009.200BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR09.10.201610:24:0019:04:008.667BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR10.10.201611:58:0019:37:007.650BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR13.10.201607:57:0015:58:008.017BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR14.10.201608:23:0014:54:006.517BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR15.10.201608:40:0016:37:007.950BIKFBIKFMission flight NAWDEX
D-ADLR18.10.201608:51:0014:41:005.833BIKFEDMOMission flight NAWDEX


More information

Scientific background and links to 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)


Contact point at 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