Introduction

What is CARIBIC ?
CARIBIC is an aircraft based scientific project. Before take-off a special air freight container filled with scientific equipment is loaded into the cargo compartment of a passenger aircraft. The container is connected to the outside air through a system of tubes. Instead of suitcases this CARIBIC container contains scientific equipment. Whilst passengers enjoy their flight, all the equipment automatically and quietly carries out thousands of measurements.
The idea to use passenger aircraft for making atmospheric observations is very attractive, and it works: that is what CARIBIC is about.

Why CARIBIC, why use a passenger aircraft ?
Special scientific research aircraft are very expensive ! For each flight-hour it is up to 10 times as expensive as in CARIBIC. The other way to research the atmosphere is to use satellites. However the measurements from a satellite in space cannot be sufficiently detailed and accurate. Satellite data give the broad picture, but lack detail. Satellites are of course also extremely expensive. However there are important roles for research aircraft and satellites.

Passenger aircraft however do fly regularly all over the globe over large distances. So, why not do measurements at the same time? Indeed, the logic of using passenger aircraft is compelling.

What do we measure with the CARIBIC container ?

The container has equipment for measuring ozone of course, but also carbon monoxide (a major polluting gas), and dust particles. Interestingly the container has a system for collecting air samples. These air samples are analyzed in the laboratory. For each sample we measure more than 40 gases. Including the ozone killers (CFC's), and all greenhouse gases.