DODO Diary


16th Jan 2005: DABEX (sister campaign of DODO) has its second science flight from Niamey.

11th Jan 2006: The FAAM aircraft BAe 146 sucessfully departed from Cranfield for Niamey on 10th January 2006.

5th Jan 2006: Ellie Highwood and Claire McConnell depart for Africa on Friday 27th January, returning 16th February!

29th Jan 2006: Arrived in Niamey having put our bodies through 40 degrees of temperature change in less than 12 hours. Hot and sunny here. The airport wasn't as chaotic as I expected it to be but it was good to see familiar faces there to take us to the hotel. It is a little like another planet here. We passed the kinds of scenes you see on the news on our route to the hotel. The hotel itself is nice and has a terrace with an overview of the Niamey River. Mosquitos are large and annoying.

Science wise our arrival co-incided with some unseasonally cloudy weather which has put our radiation measurements off for a while. We did a short flight yesterday in the Niamey region and today is a hard down day with no-one except mission scientists working (we are planning for tomorrow). A dust storm is heading our way - only the second of the whole campaign - but cloud is forecast to remain in the area.

This afternoon there is just time for some hippo watching on the river before making a decision about flying tomorrow.

4th Feb 2006: DODO has finally started. After a few days including a very succesful DABEX fire chasing flight from Niamey and some less interesting but essential high altitude calibration flights, yesterday we transited from Niamey to Dakar via Bamako. This meant 2-4 hour flights with very little opportunity for diverting from path. We went up north in search of dust, and didn't find much. However we flew over Timbuktu, and the beautiful Niger river valley. Also waves of red sand dunes, camels etc. Towards the end of the second flight we came out over the ocean and were able to drop down to low level and see what might have been dust in the bottom 1.5 kilometers near the ground. Since we hadn't had enough fun, we did some banked orbits at 60 degrees before landing at Dakar. Where the control tower sent us to park on a very old bit of runway and all our crew were waiting for us on the other side of the airfield.

We now have 3 enforced no fly days due to ARIES being stuck in customs. It measures long wave radiation at very high resolution and is crucial to the campaign. So we will all just have to have some R n'R at the very nice hotel (swimming pool, golf course and lovely fish restaurant) tomorrow, before resuming work fitting instruments and setting up logistics on Monday. I guess we'll cope!

We've made touch several times with the ship POSEIDON, and they are measuring some dust being south of Cape Verde islands, shortly to pick up a journalist for a couple of days. They'll see a lot more of us soon!

7th Feb 2006: Today was our first flight from Dakar. Due to a disappointing lack of dust and an abundance of cloud, we headed south towards some biomass burning for a short flight of in situ sampling in a clear spot. The cloud is forecast to clear in the next few days, and hopefully dust will show up!!

Dakar is very different to Niamey - much busier and more modern. Also a very large city. The hotel here is lovely though - you can't fault the pool here, and there's also a volleyball court!

Fingers crossed for more dust though.....



- Friday 13th January - first flying day for DABEX from Niamey

- Friday 3rd February 2006 - The FAAM BAe 146 plane will fly from Niamey to Dakar for the start of DODO fieldwork.

- Monday 6th February - DODO flying starts

- Thursday 16th February - End of DODO flying


- DODO 2 fieldwork will occur sometime in August 2006

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