Collaborative Research: First Scientific Priorities from the ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment

Project: Research project

Project Details


The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is a rapidly warming region of the Earth. Its stability under projected warming scenarios is inextricably linked with future global sea level rise. There have been only modest ground based atmospheric science or climatological field observations collected in West Antarctica since that undertaken during the era of the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Satellite imagery and meteorological reanalysis indicate that West Antarctica is highly susceptible to continental advection of warm and moist maritime air and cloud cover, depending on the location and strength of climatological low pressure cells in the Amundsen, Ross, and Bellingshausen Seas. There is a need to quantify the role of these changing air masses have on the surface energy balance, including radiation components and cloud radiative forcing terms, and to identify distant teleconnections with lower latitudes, such as the North Atlantic and the tropics.

The research proposed herein, at McMurdo and at WAIS divide, is organized in two thrusts: (1) Empirical determination of the energy balance on the WAIS divide site throughout a 75-day (austral summer) observing period, accounting for meteorological factors governing the local energy balance, and including exploration of teleconnections with lower latitudes, and, (2) Determination of the major categories of meteorological conditions that give rise to recurring types of cloud cover, including mixed phase clouds, and aerosol abundance over Ross Island, over an annual cycle. These measurement campaigns will be organized around the detailed protocols and advanced observing facilities enabled by the DOE ARM mobile facility (Department of Energy ? Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program). These extensive and advanced ARM microphysical data will also be used to assess how well current polar-optimized regional climate models simulate observed high latitude cloud cover.

The AWARE campaign also will provide a hands-on opportunity to help high school teachers adapt to the new Next Generation Science and Engineering Standards (NGSS). AWARE science team members will also participate in annual teacher training workshops at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, involving selected San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) master teachers.

Effective start/end date7/1/156/30/19


  • National Science Foundation: $241,985.00


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