NSFGEO-NERC: The Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit,Aerosol-Cloud Experiment

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment


The Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit (ICECAPS) project has continuously operated a sophisticated suite of ground-based instruments at Summit Station, Greenland since 2010 for observing clouds, precipitation, and atmospheric structure. The project has significantly advanced the understanding of cloud properties, radiation and surface energy, and precipitation processes over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), while also supporting process-based model evaluation, development of new measurement techniques, ground comparisons for multiple satellite measurements and aircraft missions, and operational radiosonde data for weather forecast models.

Here will expand on the original work with a two-year extension to core ICECAPS work and include an Aerosol-Cloud Experiment (ACE). We will enhance the ICECAPS project by pursuing two primary goals: 1) provide a better understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions over the GrIS and how they impact the surface energy budget, and 2) provide observations that for numerical model assessment as part of the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP).

This project is an international collaboration that funds the original ICECAPS researchers through the U.S. National Science Foundation's Arctic Observing Network and a team of aerosol researchers through the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council.

Planned Impact

As society begins to acknowledge the implications of climate change, it is necessary to understand how the physical climate system operates and evolves. Greenland is of critical importance to human society because it is currently a large contributor to sea-level rise, and the GrIS is melting at an accelerating rate. Providing a better understanding of the interactions between aerosols and clouds is of direct societal value because of their ultimate impact on the GrIS mass budget. This project will continue the successful record of international collaborations started by the ICECAPS project, which have made use of the unique ICECAPS data sets over the GrIS. This project will also continue to train the next generation of polar scientists by providing valuable opportunities for polar fieldwork and experimental research. The ICECAPS research team will continue to provide innovative approaches to teaching polar science through the use of primary and secondary teaching modules that utilize hand-held instruments that emulate ICECAPS instruments, and by creating and disseminating Computational Guided Inquiries that use polar field data for undergraduate and graduate engineering and science courses.


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Description 1) The annual pattern in total surface aerosol concentrations at Summit, Greenland is opposite to the rest of the Arctic.
2) Observations suggest that there are no relevant ice-nucleating particles at the surface of the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Exploitation Route The aerosol observations may be used to test climate models.
The findings may be used to change our understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions over the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The results should motivate further study.
Sectors Environment,Other

Title ICECAPS-ACE: Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit, Greenland - Aerosol Cloud Experiment measurements 
Description These data were collected as part of the joint Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) and US National Science Foundation (NSF) -funded Integrated Characterisation of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit - Aerosol Cloud Experiment (ICECAPS-ACE) project. Since 2010, the ICECAPS project has been monitoring cloud-atmosphere-energy interactions at Summit Station, in the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), using a comprehensive suite of ground-based remote sensing instruments and twice-daily radiosonde profiles. In 2018, the Aerosol Cloud Experiment (ACE) expansion of ICECAPS saw the addition of a new series of instruments to measure surface aerosol concentrations and turbulent heat fluxes over the ice sheet. Combined with the original ICECAPS instrumentation, the ACE instruments allow for the study of cloud-aerosol-energy interactions over the central GrIS. This dataset collection contains the measurements collected as part of the ACE component of ICECAPS-ACE, which includes the following: 1) Surface-temperature-profile: A near-surface temperature profile from four temperature/ humidity sensors distributed on the 15 m tower at Summit. 2) Surface-moisture-profile: A near-surface moisture profile from four temperature/ humidity sensors distributed on the 15 m tower at Summit. 3) Surface-winds-profile: A near-surface wind profile from four sonic anemometers distributed on the 15 m tower at Summit. 4) Snow-height: The distance to the snow surface from the lowest level of instruments on the 15 m tower at Summit, detected by a sonic-ranging sensor. 5) Skin-temperature: The brightness temperature of the snow surface as detected by an infrared radiation thermometer. 6) Aerosol-concentration: The concentration of condensation nuclei (> 5nm diameter) measured at the surface using a Condensation Particle Counter. 7) Aerosol-size-distribution: The size-resolved concentration of surface aerosol particles between 0.25 and 6.5 um in diameter measured using an Optical Particle Counter. 8) Flux-components: High-resolution temperature, humidity, and wind fluctuations that can be used to estimate turbulent fluxes using eddy covariance, located at two levels on the 15 m tower at Summit. 9) Flux-estimates: Estimates of turbulent heat and momentum fluxes by applying the eddy covariance technique to flux-components. Other ICECAPS data are available here: https://psl.noaa.gov/arctic/observatories/summit/ 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None yet. Publications and PhD dissertation in progress. 
URL http://catalogue.ceda.ac.uk/uuid/f06c6aa727404ca788ee3dd0515ea61a
Description Troll Observing Network 
Organisation Norwegian Polar Institute
Country Norway 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise from ICECAPS project led to the formation of this collaboration and award.
Collaborator Contribution Partners led the award.
Impact The application concerns equipment for extensive atmospheric, cryosphere, marine and earth observations from the areas around the Norwegian research station Troll in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. The infrastructure will strengthen Norway's position within Antarctic research and will give Norwegian and international researchers access to observations that are important in climate and soil system research and have the potential to form the basis for world-leading research.
Start Year 2020