Intercomparison of airborne and surface-based measurements during the CLARIFY, ORACLES and LASIC field experiments

Paul A. Barrett, Steven J. Abel, Hugh Coe, Ian Crawford, Amie Dobracki, James Haywood, Steve Howell, Anthony Jones, Justin Langridge, Greg M. McFarquhar, Graeme J. Nott, Hannah Price, Jens Redemann, Yohei Shinozuka, Kate Szpek, Jonathan W. Taylor, Robert Wood, Huihui Wu, Paquita Zuidema, Stéphane BauguitteRyan Bennett, Keith Bower, Hong Chen, Sabrina Cochrane, Michael Cotterell, Nicholas Davies, David Delene, Connor Flynn, Andrew Freedman, Steffen Freitag, Siddhant Gupta, David Noone, Timothy B. Onasch, James Podolske, Michael R. Poellot, Sebastian Schmidt, Stephen Springston, Arthur J. Sedlacek III, Jamie Trembath, Alan Vance, Maria Zawadowicz, Jianhao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data are presented from intercomparisons between two research aircraft, the FAAM BAe-146 and the NASA Lockheed P3, and between the BAe-146 and the surface-based DOE (Department of Energy) ARM (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement) Mobile Facility at Ascension Island (8° S, 14.5° W; a remote island in the mid-Atlantic). These took place from 17 August to 5 September 2017, during the African biomass burning (BB) season. The primary motivation was to give confidence in the use of data from multiple platforms with which to evaluate numerical climate models. The three platforms were involved in the CLouds-Aerosol-Radiation Interaction and Forcing for Year 2017 (CLARIFY-2017), ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS (ORACLES), and Layered Atlantic Smoke and Interactions with Clouds (LASIC) field experiments. Comparisons from flight segments on 6 d where the BAe-146 flew alongside the ARM facility on Ascension Island are presented, along with comparisons from the wing-tip-to-wing-tip flight of the P3 and BAe-146 on 18 August 2017. The intercomparison flight sampled a relatively clean atmosphere overlying a moderately polluted boundary layer, while the six fly-bys of the ARM site sampled both clean and polluted conditions 2-4 km upwind. We compare and validate characterisations of aerosol physical, chemical and optical properties as well as atmospheric radiation and cloud microphysics between platforms. We assess the performance of measurement instrumentation in the field, under conditions where sampling conditions are not as tightly controlled as in laboratory measurements where calibrations are performed. Solar radiation measurements compared well enough to permit radiative closure studies. Optical absorption coefficient measurements from all three platforms were within uncertainty limits, although absolute magnitudes were too low (<10 Mm-1) to fully support a comparison of the absorption Ångström exponents. Aerosol optical absorption measurements from airborne platforms were more comparable than aircraft-to-ground observations. Scattering coefficient observations compared adequately between airborne platforms, but agreement with ground-based measurements was worse, potentially caused by small differences in sampling conditions or actual aerosol population differences over land. Chemical composition measurements followed a similar pattern, with better comparisons between the airborne platforms. Thermodynamics, aerosol and cloud microphysical properties generally agreed given uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6329-6371
Number of pages43
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022


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