ESRL Participates in ICEALOT Cruise

March 17, 2008

Researchers from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) will participate in the International Chemistry Experiment in the Arctic Lower Troposphere (ICEALOT) research cruise: A Springtime Study of Aerosol Properties and Atmospheric Chemistry over an Ice-Free Region of the Arctic. The cruise will take place in the eastern Arctic (in the Greenland, Norwegian, and Barents Seas) from March 19 - April 24, 2008 with the overarching purpose of addressing scientific questions related to the sources, transport, and climatic impacts of anthropogenic aerosol and gas phase species. Using a variety of instrumentation, ESRLŐs Physical Sciences Division (PSD) will take measurements of cloud liquid water path, cloud micro-physical properties, turbulent fluxes, and high-resolution turbulence. The ESRL Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) will collect data on a broad range of climate-relevant gases and aerosols. Measurements will be taken of long-lived compounds such as carbon dioxide, shorter-lived species such as ozone and its precursors, aerosols such as black carbon, and aerosol properties such as light absorption and scattering.

The ICEALOT research cruise is part of the IPY activity, "Polar Study using Aircraft, Remote Sensing, Surface Measurements and Models, of Climate, Chemistry, Aerosols, and Transport (POLARCAT)." POLARCAT is a series of experiments at different times of the year that will follow pollution plumes of different origin as they are transported into the Arctic and observe the chemistry, aerosol processes, and radiation effects of these plumes. The experiments will also take advantage of the long residence times of pollutants in the more stable Arctic atmosphere to study aging processes by targeting air masses that have spent considerable time in the Arctic. The Arctic will, thus, also serve as a natural laboratory for investigating processes that cannot be studied elsewhere in such isolation.

Three important aspects of this experiment to NOAA are the springtime sources and transport of pollutants to the Arctic, evolution of aerosols and gases into and within the Arctic, and climate impact of aerosols and ozone in the Arctic. Measurements made of aerosol and gas phase species associated with ship emissions will serve as a "baseline" before the possibility of an increase in ship traffic as a result of the decrease in ice coverage is realized along the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage. A better understanding of the climatic effects of the short lived pollutants is required to guide mitigation strategies and, in particular, to determine to what extent reducing concentrations of aerosols and tropospheric ozone in the source regions will reduce the rate of warming in the Arctic.

Contact: Chris Fairall More Information: