Project Information
Antarctic Cloud Physics: Fundamental Observations from Ross Island
Start Date:
End Date:
Antarctic clouds constitute an important parameter of the surface radiation budget and thus play a significant role in Antarctic climate and climate change. The variability in, and long term trends of, cloud optical and microphysical properties are therefore fundamental in parameterizing the mixed phase (water-snow-ice) coastal Antarctic stratiform clouds experienced around the continent.

Using a spectoradiometer that covers the wavelength range of 350 to 2200nm, the downwelled spectral irradiance at the earth surface (Ross Island) will be used to retrieve the optical depth, thermodynamic phase, liquid water droplet effective radius, and ice-cloud effective particle size of overhead clouds, at hourly intervals and for an austral summer season (Oct-March). Based on the very limited data sets that exist for the maritime Antarctic, expectations are that Ross Island (Lat 78 S) should exhibit clouds with:
a) An abundance of supercooled liquid water, and related mixed-phase cloud processes
b) Cloud nucleation from year round biogenic and oceanic sources, in an otherwise pristine environment
c) Simple cloud geometries of predominantly stratiform cloud decks

Increased understanding of the cloud properties in the region of the main USAP base, McMurdo station is also relevant to operational weather forecasting relevant to aviation. A range of educational and outreach activities are associate with the project, including provision of workshops for high school teachers will be carried out.
Person Role
Lubin, Dan Investigator
Antarctic Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences Award # 1141939
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Not provided
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
USAP-DC Shortwave Spectroradiometer Data from Ross Island, Antarctica None exist
  1. Scott, R. C., Lubin, D., Vogelmann, A. M., & Kato, S. (2017). West Antarctic Ice Sheet Cloud Cover and Surface Radiation Budget from NASA A-Train Satellites. Journal of Climate, 30(16), 6151–6170. (doi:10.1175/jcli-d-16-0644.1)
  2. Scott, R. C., & Lubin, D. (2016). Unique manifestations of mixed‐phase cloud microphysics over Ross Island and the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(6), 2936–2945. (doi:10.1002/2015gl067246)
Platforms and Instruments

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