Science / project summary
In 2010, the observatory at Summit, Greenland, in the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS), was expanded to include a comprehensive suite of cloud-atmosphere observing instruments including microwave and infrared spectrometers, cloud radar, depolarization lidar, ceilometer, precipitation sensor, sodar, and a twice-daily radiosonde program. This observing effort was termed ICECAPS (Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit). Continuation of the work was approved / funded late summer 2013 to allow for continuous operation, with moderate enhancements to include new precipitation measurements. Measurements from this expanded instrument suite will be used to derive critical baseline atmospheric data products including: Atmospheric State - tropospheric temperature, moisture, and wind profiles, Cloud Macrophysics - occurrence, vertical boundaries, temperature, Cloud Microphysics - phase, water content, and characteristic particle size, and Precipitation - type and rate. Together these products, when combined with similar ongoing measurements at Summit, can be used to study processes that impact the surface energy budget and precipitation at the site, as well as addressing questions related to atmospheric stability, cloud phase composition, and the persistence of stratiform clouds. It is further anticipated that these observations will continue to be used by a broad cross-section of the scientific community to promote understanding of GIS and Arctic climate, validate satellite observations, and evaluate model simulations. Graduate students play significant roles in most aspects of this project, gaining valuable experience with polar field work, operating instruments, and processing data. In addition, this research team has developed a unique education and outreach plan to work with students from local schools using simple, proxy instrumentation to help develop their understanding of atmospheric principles and observations, and to enhance the scientific curriculum in their schools via a wide range of outreach activities.