This MOHAVE 2009 Campaign was a great opportunity to meet young, and less young, scientists of various horizons. Among the youngest were two wonderful graduate students, Monique Calhoun from Howard University, Maryland, and Corinne Straub from University of Bern, Switzerland. Monique started her first graduate year just two weeks before the beginning of the campaign, while Corinne had already completed one year. This blog is posted on their behalf. Two interesting contributions, the MOHAVE 2009 campaign with students’ eyes.
My MOHAVE 2009 Campaign Experience, by Monique Calhoun:
As a graduate student, I found this campaign to be a great learning experience. There were many scientists here comparing their data from various instruments such as Radiosonde, Lidar, Microwave, GPS and FTIR water vapor. From this campaign experience I have learned how to operate THref data logger information, chase radiosonde balloons and operate the ALICE LIDAR system.
On the very first campaign night, I was given an express course on how to operate the THref data logger by Dr. Larry Miloshevich. I had no idea what the THref data logger was at the moment but I learned really quickly. When working with the ALVICE LIDAR during this campaign my advisor Dr. Demetrius Venable and I had to work some nights from ~7pm to 5am. My advisor had no problem with the long hours on the first night, but I struggled to keep my eyes and my head up. I thought I would not be able to make it during the rest of the campaign, but in the end I quickly got used to the long nights.
Then I was asked to help chase balloons with Dr. Rennie Selkirk. The value of the balloon payloads can reach $3000, and retrieving them after flying them can help save a lot. Dr. Selkirk gave me an express course on chasing the balloon. I navigated while Dr. Selkirk zipped the streets with an Explorer. When we got to the site of where the payload landed I stayed in the car, too chicken of the darkness and rough terrain, while the brave Dr. Rennie Selkirk went searching on foot with nothing but a little flash light and cell phone.
Overall, I learned a lot from this campaign and I met a lot of smart scientist. I also have a greater appreciation and admiration for the scientist in this field. I recommend that any student who is considering getting into this field take part in a MOHAVE campaign.
My experience of the MOHAVE 2009 Campaign, by Corinne Straub:
For the MOHAVE 2009 campaign, our group, from University of Bern, Switzerland, deployed at Table Mountain Facility (TMF) a compact microwave radiometer for water vapor measurements in the middle atmosphere. The goal was mainly to inter-compare our instrument to the microwave radiometer of NRL permanently installed at TMF. For us the campaign was successful since the meteorological conditions at Table Mountain, meaning almost no rain and little water vapor in the troposphere, are well suited for our measurements.
Besides our own measurements, for me it was very interesting to see the instruments and preliminary results of the other groups. I learned a lot about the advantages and limitations of other water vapor measuring techniques. During the campaign, I also helped chasing and recovering the balloon payloads that included high-quality sensors which allowed me exploring the region, mainly the High Desert. During one of the chases, we were lucky enough to see the balloon payload land right in front of our eyes! All in all MOHAVE 2009 was a great experience for me.
Chasing balloon payloads on dangerous grounds...