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First ISCCP Regional Experiment Arctic Cloud Experiment

Project Description
FIRE, the First ISCCP (International Satellite Cloud Climatology
Project) Regional Experiment, is going to the Arctic to study a
variety of Arctic cloud systems under spring and summer
conditions. A team of national and international scientists will
conduct the FIRE Arctic Cloud Experiment (ACE) in a two-phase
field campaign, starting in April, 1998, and a second phase to
be conducted during July, 1998.

The scientific objectives of FIRE.ACE will be to study impact of
Arctic clouds on radiation exchange between surface, atmosphere,
and space, and the influence of surface characteristics of sea
ice, leads, and ice melt ponds on these clouds. FIRE.ACE will
attempt to document, understand, and predict the Arctic
cloud-radiation feedbacks, including changes in cloud fraction
and vertical distribution, water vapor cloud content, cloud
particle concentration and size, and cloud phase as atmospheric
temperature and chemical composition change. FIRE.ACE will use
the data to focus on improving current climate model simulations
of the Arctic climate, especially with respect to clouds and
their effects on the surface energy budget. In addition,
FIRE.ACE will address a number of scientific questions dealing
with radiation, cloud microphysics, and atmospheric chemistry.

The strategy of FIRE.ACE is to use aircraft to take remote and
in situ measurements of the Arctic cloud and surface
characteristics. The NASA ER-2 will fly far aloft with a suite
of remote sensors to remotely infer the cloud and radiative
properties of the clouds that form in the vicinity of leads and
melt ponds. The University of Washington Convair 580, National
Center for Atmospheric Research C-130, and Canada National
Research Council Convair 580 aircraft each will fly with a
number of in-situ instruments to measure the optical, physical,
radiative, and chemical properties of the clouds and radiation

NASA FIRE Arctic Cloud Experiment

Purpose: Study impact of Arctic clouds on radiation exchange
between surface, atmosphere, and space and influence of surface
characteristics (including sea ice and leads) on these clouds.

Phase I - April 7 - June 13, 1998
Phase II - July 6 - 30, 1998
Location: Beaufort Sea

Participants: Scientists from U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and

Collaborating Experiments: National Aeronautics and Space
Administration FIRE (First ISCCP Regional Experiment) National
Science Foundation SHEBA (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic
Ocean) Department of Energy ARM (Atmospheric Radiation
Measurement) Experiment Plan: Aircraft, surface-based, and
satellites will be used to measure the physical processes of
coupling between clouds, radiation, chemistry, and the
atmospheric boundary layer over the Arctic sea ice in the
Beaufort Sea and over Barrow, Alaska.

Four instrumented aircraft will make atmospheric measurements of
clouds and radiation centered over the SHEBA ice station and
Barrow, Alaska.

NCAR C-130
University of Washington CV-580
Canadian NRC CV-580

Surface-based instruments will make atmospheric measurements of
clouds and radiation.

SHEBA ice station, Des Grosielliers, Beaufort Sea
ARM, Barrow

The measurements will be coordinated with the overflights of
cloud- and lead-measuring satellites.

NOAA Polar Orbiter 12 & 14
DMSP F12 & F13
Earth Probe

Points of Contact:

Robert Curran, Radiation Sciences Program Manager, Office of
Earth Science, NASA Headquarters, Code YS, Washington, DC,
20546, Telephone 202-358-1432, Email

David S. McDougal, FIRE Project Manager, NASA Langley Research
Center, Mail Stop 483, Hampton, VA, 23681, Telephone
757-864-5832, Email

Judy Curry, Arctic Cloud Lead Scientist, Department of Aerospace
Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO,
Telephone 303-492-6417, Email

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