In Search of Clouds Over Greenland

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Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit (ICECAPS)

CIRES’ Matthew Shupe, also with NOAA’s Physical Sciences Division, is spending most of May and part of June at Summit, Greenland, 10,000 feet high in the middle of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Shupe—and colleagues David Turner (University of Wisconsin) and Von Walden  (University of Idaho)—plan to install a powerful suite of climate and weather instruments at Summit, to better understand how cloud and atmospheric processes contribute to recent warming and melting in the Arctic.

Their focus is on clouds, precipitation, and atmospheric structure, all of which are poorly understood over the Greenland Ice Sheet. Clouds can have profound effects on climate and climate change by altering the radiative balance in the atmosphere and at the surface, and through their’ roles in converting water between vapor, liquid,and ice phases. An improved understanding of cloud structure and processes is vital to understanding climate change.

To examine these components of the climate system, the team will set up a cloud radar, two microwave radiometers, a ceilometer, an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer, an X-band precipitation sensor, a sodar, a cloud and aerosol polarization and backscatter lidar, and a micropulse lidar. The researchers will also launch radiosondes twice daily to measure the atmospheric structure above the station. The full suite of instruments will be operated for at least the next four years.

Shupe’s work is funded by a five-year NSF grant, and the Summit project is part the Arctic Observing Network, an NSF effort to expand understanding of Arctic climate change.  Additional support for the project is coming from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, the DOE ARM Climate Research Facility, and Environment Canada.

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2 Comments to “More About this Blog”
  1. Teri Hoyer says:

    I am looking forward to reading about your adventures, Matt.

  2. Lynne Roeder says:

    Very interesting, Matt! Your work with the tube for the radar antenna reminds me of the old adage “measure twice (or more); cut once.” Nerve wracking! Enjoy reading your entries – keep up the great work, and stay warm.

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