ACTIVATE 5th Deployment Announcement

Jan. 31, 2022, 1:49 p.m.


In November of 2021, the Aerosol Cloud meTeorology Interactions oVer the western ATlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE) returned to operations for a winter 2021-2022 deployment. This deployment is part of a 5-year project (2019-2023, with the campaign portion from 2020-2022) to investigate the atmospheric impacts of marine boundary layer clouds. These clouds cover over 45% of the Earth’s ocean surface and exert a net cooling effect; thus, these clouds play a critical role in the Earth’s energy balance and water cycle. ACTIVATE seeks to improve the basic understanding of aerosol-cloud-meteorology interactions, which in-turn will enrich knowledge of atmospheric composition, Earth’s water and energy cycle, climate variability and change, and weather. ACTIVATE is a broad collaborative project, led by scientists from University of Arizona and NASA Langley Research Center, including participants from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Institute of Aerospace, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Miami, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The ACTIVATE deployment is based out of NASA Langley Research Center with the primary sampling region being over the Western North Atlantic Ocean. Two aircraft, the King Air and Falcon (photo: Where is the Falcon?), are used in a coordinated remote sensing and in-situ sampling strategy.

The winter 2021-2022 deployment is the fifth ACTIVATE deployment to date. The deployment builds upon previous 175 research flights with ~600 flight hours, which were conducted in two winter deployments and two summer deployments in 2020 and earlier in 2021. It is worth noting that this winter deployment started earlier than the previous ones and conducted six joint research flights in late November and December, which sampled trace gases, aerosols, and marine boundary layer clouds at the onset of meteorological winter. This deployment is also the first of the campaign to include flights to non-local airports, expanding the range of potentially sampled conditions. Flights will continue in January 2022 with the flight window extending into April 2022. These measurements will add more wintertime cases to help in understanding gradients in the aerosol-cloud system during the transition between cloud types and the solid versus broken cloud fields.

The ASDC provides all currently available publication-quality data for the first two deployments of ACTIVATE. Data from the 2021 winter and summer deployments will be available in the in Spring 2022. The data products from the fifth deployment will become available early 2023. To date, ACTIVATE researchers have generated over 30 peer-reviewed publications.

More information about ACTIVATE can be obtained from the ASDC’s Data in Action: “Advancing Aerosol-Cloud-Meteorology Knowledge through ACTIVATE.” This resource includes information about ACTIVATE’s scientific background and objectives, instruments/platforms used, major events, major findings, and related publications. Check out the ACTIVATE website for up-to-date news and information about the field campaign.

Photo: Where is the Falcon? Can you see the aircraft underneath the clouds? (from the aircraft King Air in the flight on 1/26/2022, by Taylor Shingler)

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