Polar Airborne Measurements and Arctic Regional Climate Model Simulation Project (PAMARCMIP)

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, sea ice, remote sensing, snow depth

Principal Investigator: Herber, Andreas (3)
Licence Number: 16070
Organization: Alfred Wegener Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2017
Issued: Mar 29, 2017
Project Team: Stephan Hendrick (Scientist, AWI), Robert Ricker (Scientist, AWI), Heiko Bozen (Scientist, JGU Mainz), Manuel Sellmann (Engineer, AWI), Benjamin (Harting, AWI), TBD (Pilot, Kenn Borek), TBD (Co-pilot, Kenn Borek), TBD (Engineer, Kenn Borek)

Objective(s): To collect detailed measurements of the Arctic atmosphere and sea ice and trace the evolution of such changes from year to year.

Project Description: The observational platform will be a single aircraft, the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) POLAR 5, a modified DC-3 aircraft.

Objectives of this project are to:
1. determine the actual state of the sea ice thickness distribution in the western Arctic and what are trends of the Sea Ice thinning;
2. characterize the actual sea ice thickness distribution and identify trends in the sea ice thickness in Arctic spring;
3. separate sea ice and snow thickness by combined analysis of EM-Bird and Snow thickness radar data;
4. compare freeboard, snow thickness, and ice thickness measurements for the validation of CryoSat sea ice thickness retrievals;
5. determine how far black carbon (BC) and other aerosols penetrate into the Arctic, and what are the mechanisms for transport and deposition, and how BC interacts with other aerosol components;
6. better define the vertical and horizontal extent of Black Carbon and aerosol layers in the Arctic;
7. characterize the nature of biomass burning plumes, including impacts on the radiative forcing; and,
8. determine how to identify the different aerosol loading (source and sinks) by using trace gas information.

PAMARCMIP airborne observations are to be conducted from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI, Germany) DC-3 aircraft (POLAR 5) while based at five different locations across the Arctic: Longyearbyen, Norway; Station Nord, Greenland; Alert, Nunavut, Eureka, Nunavut; Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and Barrow, Alaska.

The observations will be conducted using instrumentation on the aircraft. Only data media will be carried off the aircraft. All instruments will remain inside the aircraft for the duration of the study, unless malfunctions necessitate their removal for repairs. Following each flight, data from the instruments will be copied to storage media that will be further copied and examined for quality and for potential contributions to the scientific objectives.

The springtime Arctic atmosphere is relatively heavy in components of pollution from southern latitudes, which is the primary motivation for this research study. The range will be limited to approximately 300 km. Fuel for the aircraft is in place in Inuvik. Much of the inflight time will be spent collecting data during profiling from near the surface (levelling at approximately 200 feet above surface for up to 15 minutes) to approximately 6 km above the surface. The low-level portion of the profiles will help the research team to understand dry deposition of pollution to the surface, and it will enable comparisons with similar ground-based observations. In addition, low level flying at approximately 200 feet above the surface will be conducted over the sea ice area to measure the sea ice thickness as well as snow thickness. These low-level observations will get information on the sea ice type and help to understand sinks (enhanced dry deposition or deposition via fog droplets) of BC particles over the region. No low-level flying will be conducted over land except during takeoffs and landings.

Climate and sea ice change affects all who live in the north. The aim of this project is to measure weather, atmosphere and sea ice thickness to improve the understanding of the processes in the arctic atmosphere and to use these measurements to improve the regional and global climate models of the Arctic.

In the short term (<3 years), the data will be used to study natural and anthropogenic sources of the Arctic aerosol and processes by which the Arctic aerosol evolves. These results will be used to estimate impacts of the particles on the energy balance of the Arctic atmosphere, cloud formation in the Arctic and to improve model representations of aerosol particles. At the conclusion of NETCARE, these data will be publicly available. Results from the study will be communicated through scientific meetings as well as scientific publications. Several publications in scientific journals are anticipated in the short term. The publications will be available to all interested parties.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 1, 2017 to April 5, 2017.