MANTRA ‐ a Balloon Mission to Study the Odd‐nitrogen Budget of the Stratosphere

Published In: Atmosphere-Ocean, v. 43, no. 4, 2005, p. 283-299

Posted on on January 01, 2005

by Kimberly Strong, George Bailak, David Barton, Matt Bassford, Ron D. Blatherwick, Stephan Brown, Darryl Chartrand, J. Clarence Davies, James R. Drummond, Pierre F. Fogal, et al.

Read More

Access further information on this document at Taylor & Francis

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The Middle Atmosphere Nitrogen TRend Assessment (MANTRA) series of high-altitude balloon flights is being undertaken to investigate changes in the concentrations of northern hemisphere mid-latitude stratospheric ozone, and of nitrogen and chlorine compounds that play a role in ozone chemistry. Four campaigns have been carried out to date, all from Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, Canada (52°01'N, 107°02'W, 511.0 m). The first MANTRA mission took place in August 1998, with the balloon flight on 24 August 1998 being the first Canadian launch of a large high-altitude balloon in about fifteen years. The balloon carried a payload of instruments to measure atmospheric composition, and made measurements from a float altitude of 32-38 km for one day. Three of these instruments had been flown on the Stratoprobe flights of the Atmospheric Environment Service (now the Meteorological Service of Canada) in the 1970s and early 1980s, providing a link to historical data predating the onset of mid-latitude ozone loss.The primary measurements obtained from the balloon-borne instruments were vertical profiles of ozone, NO2, HNO3, HCl, CFC-11, CFC-12, N2O, CH4, temperature, and aerosol backscatter. Total column measurements of ozone, NO2, SO2, and aerosol optical depth were made by three ground-based spectrometers deployed during the campaign. Regular ozonesonde and radiosonde launches were also conducted during the two weeks prior to the main launch in order to characterize the local atmospheric conditions (winds, pressure, temperature, humidity) in the vicinity of the primary balloon flight. The data have been compared with the Model for Evaluating oZONe Trends (MEZON) chemical transport model, the University of California at Irvine photochemical box model, and the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) to test our current understanding of model photochemistry and mid-latitude species correlations. This paper provides an overview of the MANTRA 1998 mission, and serves as an introduction to the accompanying papers in this issue of Atmosphere-Ocean that describe specific aspects and results of this campaign.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.