The primary objective of AWARE on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is to characterize the atmospheric and surface energy budget, and atmospheric thermodynamic structure as completely as possible with available logistics and instrumentation, in order to garner a data set that can be interpreted in the context of large-scale atmospheric dynamics to understand specific warming mechanisms over West Antarctica. The primary objectives of AWARE at McMurdo are (1) to empirically understand the unique Antarctic manifestations of mixed-phase clouds and aerosols, and their effect on the radiation budget, and (2) using the most advanced atmospheric instrumentation available, examine microphysical properties of clouds that have recently descended from the WAIS to Ross Island via the Ross Ice Shelf. These goals require measurements of the following:
- Surface energy balance including downwelling and upwelling shortwave and longwave radiation, and surface fluxes of momentum, moisture, precipitation, and latent and sensible heat.
- Spectral downwelling radiation measurements in the shortwave and longwave, to relate cloud microphysical properties and atmospheric aerosol and moisture content to the broadband radiation components at the surface, and to make independent retrievals of cloud optical properties for closure study in comparison with the active sensor data.
- A complete inventory of cloud properties, including the basic properties of cloud type, cloud fraction, cloud base and geometrical thickness (WAIS and McMurdo), and more advanced and altitude-dependent measurements of cloud particle size distribution, thermodynamic phase, cloud particle vertical velocity, and precipitation rate and type (McMurdo).
- A complete inventory of aerosol properties (McMurdo) including chemical composition, particle size distribution, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) behavior, hygroscopic behavior, and light scattering properties.
- The atmospheric state including surface measurements and vertical profiles of temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and direction.