Tropospheric Aerosols and Clouds

The effect of aerosols (levitating liquid or solid particles in the air) is twofold. The direct effect is absorption and scattering of sun light and infra red radiation. The indirect effect alters clouds through the availability and properties of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), like ice nuclei (IN). Due to persisting cold temperatures and strongly variable solar radiation in the polar regions (polar day and night, high surface reflectivity (albedo)), aerosols behave differently here than in mid latitudes.


The new, warmer Arctic atmosphere will have different aerosol contents due to increased water vapour, potentially more biogenic aerosols, changes in biomass burning events, and others. Our research aims to quantify the effects of such changes on surface radiation, aerosol load, and cloud properties, in order to improve the regional climate modeling of these feedbacks.


We perform process oriented research work at the AWIPEV Arctic Research Base on Spitsbergen, and use the airborne platform of Polar 5 or 6 to acquire cross-sections of atmospheric parameters over the Arctic Ocean. The long term monitoring at the Atmospheric Observatory of AWIPEV base provides data sets of relevant climate variables, while the repeated aircraft expeditions over the Arctic Ocean produce comprehensive snapshot observations of the interaction between the ice covered ocean and the atmosphere.