The CLoud–Aerosol–Radiation Interaction and Forcing: Year 2017 (CLARIFY-2017) measurement campaign
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus Publications 21:2 (2021) 1049-1084
The representations of clouds, aerosols, and cloud–aerosol–radiation impacts remain some of the largest uncertainties in climate change, limiting our ability to accurately reconstruct past climate 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 an optimum region 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 five 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 fourfold: (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) to improve our knowledge and representation of the processes determining stratocumulus cloud microphysical and radiative properties and their transition to cumulus regimes; (3) to challenge, validate, and improve satellite retrievals of cloud and aerosol properties and their radiative impacts; (4) to improve the impacts of aerosols in weather and climate numerical models. This paper describes the modelling and measurement strategies central to the CLARIFY-2017 deployment of the FAAM BAe146 instrumented aircraft campaign, summarizes the flight objectives and flight patterns, and highlights some key results from our initial analyses.