Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study
The Southern Ocean is the stormiest place on Earth, buffeted by winds and waves that circle the ice of Antarctica, sheathed in clouds that mantle a dynamic ocean with rich ecosystems. The remote and usually pristine environment, typically removed from anthropogenic and natural continental aerosol sources makes the Southern Ocean unique for examining cloud-aerosol interactions for liquid and ice clouds, and the role of primary and secondary marine biogenic aerosols and sea-salt. Weather and climate models are challenged by uncertainties and biases in the simulation of Southern Ocean clouds, aerosols, precipitation, and radiation which trace to poor physical understanding of these processes, and by cloud feedbacks (e.g., phase changes) in response to warming. Models almost universally underestimate sunlight reflected by near surface cloud in the Austral summer, particularly in the cold sector of cyclonic storm systems, possibly due to difficulties in representing pervasive supercooled and mixed-phase boundary layer clouds.
Motivated by these issues, a large international multi-agency effort called the Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) will be conducted to improve our understanding of clouds, aerosols, air-sea exchanges, and their interactions over the Southern Ocean.
The SOCRATES Test project was a test flight program out of the Research Aviation Facility (RAF) in Broomfield, CO in Fall 2016. The goal of the program was to flight test HCR in preparation for the SOCRATES field project in the Austral Summer 2018.