2. Field Studies

Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research

The LACIS facility in Leipzig, Germany

The LACIS facility in Leipzig, Germany

During January, 2014 group members Karin, Sarvesh and Dan conducted ice nucleation research at the Leibniz Institute’s LACIS facility (pictured above) with Frank Stratmann, Heike Wex and their group. This study compared the performance of multiple ice nucleation chambers. Data will be presented during the 2014 AMS meeting in Boston.

Two Column Aerosol Project (TCAP)


TCAP Field Site


During February and March, 2013 Beth Friedman led our group’s participation in the Department of Energy’s TCAP project on Cape Cod. Along with Professor Jesse Kroll’s group in MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department our group determined the composition of the particles which form cloud droplets at a site which is influenced by a complex mixture of airmasses from marine, rural and marine origins.

Aerosol Interaction and Dynamics in the Atmosphere (AIDA)

AIDA Schematic, courtesy of AIDA/KIT

During July, 2012 our group participated in experiments at the AIDA facility at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. We investigated the cloud formation potential of various mineral dust species which have been linked to cloud formation during studies such as MACPEX. A recent article on Greenwire by Paul Voosen describes the project.


John (pilot) and Sarvesh (backseat, instrument ops) aboard the Long-EZ

During June, 2012 we conducted a set of test flights with John Mak of Stoney Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences aboard his Long-EZ. This aircraft was designed by Burt Rutan and has tandem seats and a canard layout. In space and power it mimics what is available on many UAVs but allows for piloting and an instrument operator.

The Mid-latitude Airborne Cirrus Properties Experiment (MACPEX)

NASA WB-57F. Photo by K. Jucks, E. Jensen and J. Mace.

MACPEX was an airborne field campaign which investigated cirrus cloud properties and the processes that affect their impact on radiation. Utilizing the NASA WB-57 based at Ellington Field, TX, the campaign took place in March and April 2011. Science flights focused on south and central North America with an emphasis over the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement site in Oklahoma.

Dan Cziczo participated in MACPEX with Dr. Karl Froyd from NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory. They deployed a novel counterflow virtual impactor inlet and the Particle Analysis by Laser Mass Spectrometry (PALMS) instrument which determined the size and composition of cirrus cloud forming aerosol in situ and in real time. Samples were also acquired for off line electron microscopy at MIT.

A view from the cockpit. Photo by flightcrew.

Eric Jensen (NASA Ames) and Jay Mace (University of Utah) acted as the Project Scientists. Along with Ken Jucks (NASA Headquarters) we thank them for the media provided here. The MACPEX participant list can be found here. The major science questions addressed by MACPEX include:

• How prevalent are smaller crystals in cirrus clouds, and how important are these for extinction, radiative forcing, and radiative heating?

• How are cirrus microphysical properties (particle size distribution, ice crystal habit, extinction, ice water content) related to the dynamical forcing driving cloud formation?

• How are cirrus microphysical properties related to aerosol loading and composition, including the abundance of heterogeneous ice nuclei?

• How do cirrus microphysical properties evolve through the lifecycles of the clouds, and what role do radiatively driven dynamical motions play?

In addition to the in situ measurements, flights were coordinated with the NASA EOS / A-Train satellite observations for validation and evaluation of new remote-sensing retrievals for future Earth Science Decadal satellites. The detailed measurements aquired by MACPEX will also be used to improve cloud model parameterizations in Global Climate Models (GCMs).

The MACPEX mission was supported by the NASA Earth Science Research and Analysis Program under the Atmospheric Composition Focus Area. The aircraft and support provided by the NASA Airborne Science Program.

For a video of takeoff and landing please use these YouTube links:


MACPEX Landing

Carbonaceous Aerosols and Radiative Effects Study (CARES)

A Cool place to do research. Photo by R. Zaveri.

CARES took place in the central California region, to the northeast of Sacramento, from June 2-28, 2010. This field campaign was designed to increase scientific knowledge about the evolution of black carbon and secondary organic aerosols from both urban and biogenic sources. New knowledge gained from subsequent detailed process-level analyses will then be integrated into regional and global aerosol models used for simulating the direct and indirect radiative effects of aerosols on climate.

Comprehensive and complementary data sets of trace gases and aerosols were taken from the Sacramento urban plume under relatively well-defined and regular meteorological conditions using multiple suites of ground-based and airborne instruments. To obtain the airborne data, the ARM Aerial Facility conducted regular flights through and around the Sacramento plume. The flights were coordinated with ground-based operations at two sites: one within the Sacramento urban source area and the other in the downwind area about 70 km to the northeast in a small town called Cool.

Dan Cziczo oversaw the field site at Cool, CA. He and a team from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory including Drs. Naruki Hiranuma, Mikhail Pekour and Danny Nelson determined particle composition, hygroscopicity and cloud drop formation.

The Principal Investigator for the CARES study was Dr. Rahul Zaveri and his blog can be found here.

CARES ‘T1′ site at Cool, CA. Photo by R. Zaveri.

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