Overview: The CLoud-Aerosol-Radiation Interaction and Forcing: Year-2017 (CLARIFY-2017) measurement campaign
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions European Geosciences Union (2020)
The representation of clouds, aerosols and cloud-aerosol-radiation impacts remain some of the largest uncertainties in climate change, limiting our ability to accurately reconstruct and predict future climate. The south-east Atlantic is a region where high atmospheric aerosol loadings and semi-permanent stratocumulus clouds are co-located, providing a natural laboratory for studying the full range of aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions and their perturbations of the Earth’s radiation budget. While satellite measurements have provided some useful insights into aerosol-radiation and aerosol cloud interactions over the region, these observations do not have the spatial and temporal resolution, nor the required level of precision to allow for a process level assessment. Detailed measurements from high spatial and temporal resolution airborne atmospheric measurements in the region are very sparse, limiting their use in assessing the performance of aerosol modelling in numerical weather prediction and climate models. CLARIFY-2017 was a major consortium programme consisting of 5 principal UK universities with project partners from the UK Met Office and European and USA-based universities and research centres involved in the complementary ORACLES, LASIC and AEROCLO-sA projects. The aims of CLARIFY-2017 were four-fold; (1) to improve the representation and reduce uncertainty in model estimates of the direct, semi-direct and indirect radiative effect of absorbing biomass burning aerosols; (2) improve our knowledge and representation of the processes determining stratocumulus cloud microphysical and radiative properties and their transition to cumulus regimes; (3) challenge, validate and improve satellite retrievals of cloud and aerosol properties and their radiative impacts; (4) improve numerical models of cloud and aerosol and their impacts on radiation, weather and climate. This paper describes the modelling and measurement strategies central to the CLARIFY-2017 deployment of the FAAM BAe146 instrumented aircraft campaign, summarises the flight objectives and flight patterns, and highlights some key results from our initial analyses.