Summary studies are presented for the entire cloud observation archieve from the NASA Global Atmospheric Sampling Program (GASP). Studies are also presented for GASP particle concentration data gathered concurrently with the cloud observations. Cloud encounters are shown on about 15 percent of the data samples overall, but the probability of cloud encounter is shown to vary significantly with altitude, latitude, and distance from the tropopause. Several meteorological circulation features are apparent in the latitudinal distribution of cloud cover, and the cloud encounter statistics are shown to be consistent with the classical mid-latitude cyclone model. Observations of clouds spaced more closely than 90 minutes are shown to be statistically dependent. The statistics for cloud and particle encounter are utilized to estimate the frequency of cloud encounter on long range airline routes, and to assess the probability and extent of laminar flow loss due to cloud or particle encounter by aircraft utilizing laminar flow control (LFC). It is shown that the probability of extended cloud encounter is too low, of itself, to make LFC impractical.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY