After busy weeks of maintenance work and packing, both LACROS containers were picked up at TROPOS today. Next stop is the container terminal of Hamburg. The containers are scheduled to continue their journey from Hamburg to the harbor of San Antonia, Chile, on 21 September. The container ship will likely be MSC Antonella (more information about the ship here).
At San Antonio harbor, it is planned to put the containers on the container ship CONDOR (more information about the ship here). Let’s keep fingers crossed that everything will work fine and within the schedule.





During the first week of May, a second preparatory meeting took place at UMAG, Punta Arenas. This time a three-person team from TROPOS (Cristofer, Zhenping, Martin) came to Punta Arenas to advance the preparation of DACAPO-PESO.


Cloudy sky over Punta Arenas in late fall.

A one-day workshop together with representatives from UMAG and Dirección Meteorológica de Chile (Chilean Meteorological Service) was the most important appointment during the week. Well organized by our collaborator at UMAG, Boris Barja, several talks were given on current research topics and opportunities for further collaboration. After the presentations plenty of time remained for discussions and networking.


Boris giving a presentation during the Workshop.

The remaining days were filled with various tasks. Scouting a potential field site for undisturbed aerosol sampling meant hiking up Cerro Mirador – a 600 m hill hosting several telecommunication ground stations and Punta Arenas’ skiing resort. During late autumn with temperatures slightly above freezing and winds around 40 kt this trip was a little bit demanding, but most likely there will be the opportunity for in-situ sampling during DACAPO-PESO.


Hiking up to Cerro Mirador at temperatures around freezing level and approx. 40 kt winds.

We also visited the local office of the DMC at the airport of Punta Arenas and discussed joint measurements and the exchange of data. From this office, the DMC monitors the surface observation network in the Magallanes region, launches radiosondes daily and issues the aviation weather reports. Furthermore, a short meeting was held with a logistics company regarding the final delivery of the LACROS containers at Punta Arenas.

After a quite successful week, the return trip did not start at the airport, but at the port, where we boarded the German research vessel Polarstern. During the four-week cruise back to Bremerhaven, Germany we took care of the OCEANET container.


In the morning of the 27 April, TROPOS’ LACROS facility returned to Leipzig after an 18-month deployment in Limassol, Cyprus. But the return to its home base should not last very long, because the DACAPO-PESO campaign is scheduled to start in November. The shipping of both containers had to start in September in order to arrive at Punta Arenas on time. This left only a short period for necessary maintenance and upgrades.


Final springtime shot of the CyCARE field site of LACROS in Limassol, Cyprus, just a few days before its transport back to Leipzig.



A nighttime impression of LACROS and some of its PI’s (from left: Johannes Bühl, Albert Ansmann, Patric Seifert.)



On 27 April 2018, both LACROS containers arrive back well from Cyprus.



Installing power and network plugs side-by-side with the cooling tubes of the A/C system was not a good idea of the container manufacturer. Humid air entered the cable channel from outside during CyCARE and caused condensation of water and corrosion of the plugs.


First point on the to-do list was a safety re-certification of both containers. This included an inspection of the electrical installation (with some surprises, see the photo), the hoist gear, the air conditions and the structural integrity of the container itself. Some minor points had to be fixed, but now again LACROS is certified to be a save working place and is allowed to be transported as intermodal freight.

The second and most complex point was to upgrade major parts of the IT. To cope with the large amount of data collected during DACAPO-PESO we got a new main server with a 100TB storage system and additionally two new PCs for data acquisition. After fitting the hardware parts into place, the software setup and migration of all data processing took quite a time.

We also extended LACROS with two more Radars. A 24GHz micro rain radar is included permanently and enhances the capabilities to observe intense rain. The FMCW 94GHz of the Leipzig Institute for Meteorology was added just for the Punta Arenas deployment. Its high frequency makes this radar the perfect tool for the observation of thin clouds.

In parallel, we upgraded several instruments. Our PollyXT Lidar got an additional telescope together with a new detector – in total its 13th channel. With the new dual field of view depolarization technique it will be possible to retrieve microphysical parameters of clouds, like droplet number and diameter. The Halo Photonics Streamline Doppler Lidar Shaun was upgraded by its manufacturer to improve sensitivity.


The new wide-field-of-view telescope for polarization observations installed right above the secondary mirror of the main telescope of PollyXT.

Now, all the preparations are finished and LACROS will start its journey to Punta Arenas on Monday 17th September to Hamburg by truck. There it will be loaded onto a container ship (more information here) which travels via the Panama Canal to San Antonio, Chile. In the largest port of Chile, the containers will be transferred to a smaller feeder ship (more information here) to Punta Arenas, where they (hopefully) will arrive until November.