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Microphysics of Antarctic Clouds (MAC)

Status: ongoing
Publication State: published


Microphysics of Antarctic Clouds (MAC) is an active NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded project (NE/K01305X/1).

The largest uncertainties in future climate predictions highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC 2007) arise from our lack of knowledge of the interaction of clouds with solar and terrestrial radiation (Dufresene & Bony, 2008). In Antarctica clouds play a major role in determining the continent's ice sheet radiation budget, its surface mass balance and ozone climatology. However in spite of this there are few in situ measurements of cloud properties, aerosol numbers, Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) or Ice Nuclei (IN) with the main focus being on remote sensing data sets (see the review by Bromwich et al 2012). As a result the skill in climate and forecast models at high latitudes is significantly poorer than at mid latitudes. In this project a more representative of the Antarctic continent's coastal region was used. It is in this coastal region that clouds will have the biggest impact on the climate as in the interior of the continent the total cloud cover is less (Lachlan-Cope 2010) and those clouds that exist are more tenuous. To achieve this flights were conducted from the Halley research station.


1.To investigate the nature of Ice Nuclei (IN) and Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) in coastal Antarctic and to identify the dominant mechanisms responsible for the glaciation of clouds in this region.
2.To test whether the Polar Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) and the Met Office Large Eddy Cloud Resolving Model (LEM) are able to reproduce the observed cloud microphysics and the surface radiation balance below cloud.
3.To develop new cloud parameterisations for this region.

Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: MAC, aircraft, CCN, cloud, Antartic, NAME dispersion footprints

Related parties
Principal Investigators (1)