Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Polarsonde: A Meteorological Sensor To Detect Aircraft Icing Hazard (Award# Adelaide)

PI: Hamilton, Murray (murray.hamilton@adelaide.edu.au)
Phone: 61(883) 033-.994 
Institute/Department: The University of Adelaide, Physics Department 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: AU\Research/Higher Ed
Program Manager: Ms. Renee Crain (rcrain@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Meteorology and Climate\Cloud Microphysics |

Project Web Site(s):
Institute: http://physsci.adelaide.edu.au/

Science Summary:
The aim of this project is to develop an expendable probe, which when attached to a standard radiosonde, will become the first low-cost routine technique to detect super-cooled liquid water in clouds. Beyond simply detecting super-cooled liquid, polarsondes will help to answer a number of scientific questions, by determining the ratio of liquid to ice in mixed-phase clouds. Current meteorological models use an ice fraction for clouds that is calculated from the temperature profile of the atmosphere. Even in the northern mid-latitudes, the few tests that have been made show that this assumed relationship is incapable of capturing the natural variability of the ice/liquid partitioning. Furthermore, observations by satellite have shown that clouds containing liquid water below 0°C are more frequent than current meteorological models predict. Radiosondes are the only routinely used meteorological device that can profile the interior of a cloud, but they are limited to sensing water vapor (as well as temperature and pressure) and not the liquid or solid phases. Polarsonde will overcome this limitation, by enhancing radiosondes to enable detection of super-cooled liquid water. It will distinguish the spherical liquid droplets from nonspherical ice crystals by exploiting the fact that they affect differently the polarization of the light that they scatter.

Logistics Summary:
This project is led by a PI from Adelaide University, Australia. He will construct a number of polarsondes with which he will make validation measurements in mixed phase clouds and fogs at Summit Station, Greenland, comparing the polarsonde against other instruments that can measure the amounts of liquid and ice in a cloud. The PI will collaborate with Dr. Matthew Shupe and Dr. David Noone at the University of Colorado (current NSF grants 0856559 and 1023574, respectively). During July 2012, the PI will travel commercially to Kangerlussuaq, and onward to Summit Station via the ANG. He will spend approximately one week on site evaluating the performance of polarsondes installed on the Summit Station 50-meter tower before departing on an ANG flight and flying homeward by commercial air. The polarsondes on the tower will be left in place for one year. Additionally, the polarsondes will occasionally be launched in conjunction with the ICECAPS radiosonde balloons. The data will be recorded and transmitted back to Adelaide by the collaborators, who will also use the data for their studies of mixed phase clouds and precipitation on the icecap. The PI will return to Summit in July 2013 to test polarsondes that have been modified to remove the shortcomings identified in the 2012 season. The PI will travel commerically to Kangerlussuaq, and onward to Summit Station via the ANG. The polarsondes on the tower will be left in place through winter 2013-2014. The data will be recorded and transmitted back to Adelaide by the collaborators, who will also use the data for their studies of mixed phase clouds and precipitation on the icecap.

CPS will provide Air National Guard (ANG) flight coordination between Kangerlussuaq and Summit Station, Summit user days, and access to infrastructure and science technician support at Summit Station for the year-round experiment. The NSF will recoup support costs directly from the PI's institution. All other costs, including accomodations in Kangerlussuaq, will be paid by the PI.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2012Greenland - Kangerlussuaq07 / 10 / 2012 07 / 22 / 20121
2012Greenland - Summit07 / 13 / 2012 07 / 20 / 20121
2013Greenland - Kangerlussuaq07 / 10 / 2013 07 / 19 / 20131
2013Greenland - Summit07 / 11 / 2013 07 / 16 / 20131
 


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