Myasishchev M-55 Geophysica 55204 (c/n 80909) recently operated from Kathmandu, Nepal, in a series of flights to collect atmospheric data above Asia to contribute to climate research. Nine research flights from the end of July to mid-August saw the M-55 operate above the Himalayas in Nepal, India and Bangladesh up to an altitude of 65,616ft (20,000m). The aircraft was equipped with two fully automated measuring instruments to collect sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide readings, and an ion and trace gas mass spectrometer.
The M-55’s flights were part of the StratoClim research project, a collaboration of 37 scientific organisations from 15 countries that aims to understand the development of aerosol layers in the atmosphere, which consist of small droplets and dust particles and can either warm or cool Earth’s surface, depending on their composition. Project leader Markus Rex said: “For the first time we [were] able to study the composition of the air that reaches the tropopause region and the stratosphere above the monsoon.” Mark Broadbent