In-Situ Observations of Maritime Sources/Sinks of Aerosol and Cloud Condensation Nuclei at Palmer Station, Antarctica: PAEROS Pilot Phase

Principal Investigator: 
Collaborators: 
Craig Corrigan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Proposal Abstract: 

The Southern Ocean has been identified as one of the key regions that need aerosol measurements to improve our models of global climate change.  The contribution of marine aerosol emissions to the Earth's atmosphere provides the basis for understanding natural variations and their feedbacks and assessing the role of anthropogenic activities on Earth's climate.  Yet, aerosol forcings are still the largest uncertainties in understanding the Earth's natural climate; in part, because there are relatively few in-situ observations of aerosols, particularly in the Southern Ocean due to technical limits in our ability to make aerosol measurements in harsh environments.   

The Portable AERosol Observing System (PAEROS) addresses the logistical and scientific challenges for observing aerosols in harsh, remote environments. The proposed project couples 1) advances in instrument technology developed as part of a Major Research Initiative (MRI) funded by NSF and 2) the need for observations of the sources/sinks of aerosols in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.  Specifically, we will deploy a miniaturized aerosol package (PAEROS) at Palmer Station, Antarctica for five months during the austral summer to measure aerosol physical properties, CCN spectra, radiative fluxes and meteorological parameters.   

This proposed project addresses the following science objectives: 

  1. Identify sources and sinks of aerosol and CCN properties of the Southern Ocean with respect to atmospheric conditions (i.e., wind speed, back trajectories, and solar fluxes, cloud cover).  
  2. Determine the contribution of sources (i.e., sea salt, biogenic) to remote marine aerosol using the observed aerosol properties.
  3. Compare marine aerosol properties to those originating from the Antarctic continent to better understand processes related to particle formation and the evolution of aerosol and CCN in Antarctica.
  4. Demonstrate the technical capability of PAEROS by operating the observing system in a harsh environment at a remote location for an extended period.
Start and End Date: 
May 2013 to April 2015
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