The Arctic Summer Cloud-Ocean Study (ASCOS): Overview and experimental design
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
The climate in the Arctic is changing faster than anywhere else on Earth. Poorly un-derstood feedback processes relating to Arctic clouds and aerosol-cloud interactionscontribute to a poor understanding of the present changes in the Arctic climate system,and also to a large spread in projections of future climate in the Arctic. The problem is exacerbated by the paucity of research-quality observations in the central Arctic. Im-proved formulations in climate models require such observations, which can only comefrom measurements in-situ in this difficult to reach region with logistically demandingenvironmental conditions.The Arctic Summer Cloud-Ocean Study (ASCOS) was the most extensive central Arctic Ocean expedition with an atmospheric focus during the International Polar Year(IPY) 2007–2008. ASCOS focused on the study of the formation and life cycle of low-level Arctic clouds. ASCOS departed from Longyearbyen on Svalbard on 2 August andreturned on 9 September 2008. In transit into and out of the pack ice, four short re-search stations were undertaken in the Fram Strait; two in open water and two in the marginal ice zone. After traversing the pack-ice northward an ice camp was set up on12 August at 87◦21′N 01◦29′W and remained in operation through 1 September, drift-ing with the ice. During this time extensive measurements were taken of atmosphericgas and particle chemistry and physics, mesoscale and boundary-layer meteorology,marine biology and chemistry, and upper ocean physics. ASCOS provides a unique interdisciplinary data set for development and testing ofnew hypotheses on cloud processes, their interactions with the sea ice and ocean andassociated physical, chemical, and biological processes and interactions. For exam-ple, the first ever quantitative observation of bubbles in Arctic leads, combined withthe unique discovery of marine organic material, polymer gels with an origin in the ocean, inside cloud droplets suggest the possibility of primary marine organically de-rived cloud condensation nuclei in Arctic stratocumulus clouds. Direct observations ofsurface fluxes of aerosols could, however, not explain observed variability in aerosol concentrations and the balance between local and remote aerosols sources remainsopen. Lack of CCN was at times a controlling factor in low-level cloud formation, andhence for the impact of clouds on the surface energy budget. ASCOS provided de-tailed measurements of the surface energy balance from late summer melt into theinitial autumn freeze-up, and documented the effects of clouds and storms on the surface energy balance during this transition. In addition to such process-level studies, theunique, independent ASCOS data set can and is being used for validation of satelliteretrievals, operational models, and reanalysis data sets. Show more
Journal / seriesAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03690 - Lohmann, Ulrike / Lohmann, Ulrike
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