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Collaborative Research: Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit (ICECAPS)


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Weather, climate & atmosphere
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In 2010, the observatory at Summit, Greenland, in the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS), was expanded to include a comprehensive suite of cloud-atmosphere observing instruments including microwave and infrared spectrometers, cloud radar, depolarization lidar, ceilometer, precipitation sensor, sodar, and a twice-daily radiosonde program. This observing effort was termed ICECAPS (Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit). A continuation of this project is proposed here, with moderate enhancements to include atmospheric aerosol observations. Measurements from this expanded instrument suite will be used to derive critical baseline atmospheric data products including: * Atmospheric State - tropospheric temperature, moisture, and wind profiles * Aerosols - concentration of total particles and cloud condensation nuclei * Cloud Macrophysics - occurrence, vertical boundaries, temperature * Cloud Microphysics - phase, water content, and characteristic particle size * Precipitation - type and rate Together these products, when combined with similar ongoing measurements at Summit, can be used to study processes that impact the surface energy budget and precipitation at the site, as well as addressing questions related to atmospheric stability, cloud phase composition, the persistence of stratiform clouds, and aerosol-cloud interactions. It is further anticipated that these observations will continue to be used by a broad cross-section of the scientific community to promote understanding of GIS and Arctic climate, validate satellite observations, and evaluate model simulations. Graduate students play significant roles in most aspects of this project, gaining valuable experience with polar field work, operating instruments, and processing data. In addition, this research team has developed a unique education and outreach plan to work with students from local schools using simple, proxy instrumentation to help develop their understanding of atmospheric principles and observations, and to enhance the scientific curriculum in their schools via a wide range of outreach activities.