The U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) performed comprehensive meteorological and aerosol measurements and ground-based atmospheric remote sensing at two Antarctic stations using the most advanced instrumentation available. A suite of cloud research radars, lidars, spectral and broadband radiometers, aerosol chemical and microphysical sampling equipment, and meteorological instrumentation was deployed at McMurdo Station on Ross Island from December 2015 through December 2016. A smaller suite of radiometers and meteorological equipment, including radiosondes optimized for surface energy budget measurement, was deployed on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet between 4 December 2015 and 17 January 2016. AWARE provided Antarctic atmospheric data comparable to several well-instrumented high Arctic sites that have operated for many years and that reveal numerous contrasts with the Arctic in aerosol and cloud microphysical properties. These include persistent differences in liquid cloud occurrence, cloud height, and cloud thickness. Antarctic aerosol properties are also quite different from the Arctic in both seasonal cycle and composition, due to the continent's isolation from lower latitudes by Southern Ocean storm tracks. Antarctic aerosol number and mass concentrations are not only non-negligible but perhaps play a more important role than previously recognized because of the higher sensitivities of clouds at the very low concentrations caused by the large-scale dynamical isolation. Antarctic aerosol chemical composition, particularly organic components, has implications for local cloud microphysics. The AWARE dataset, fully available online in the ARM Program data archive, offers numerous case studies for unique and rigorous evaluation of mixed-phase cloud parameterization in climate models.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science