Skip to Content | Contact

Co-ordinated lidar and aircraft observations of cloud microphysical conditions in the Southern Ocean

Co-ordinated lidar and aircraft observations of cloud microphysical conditions in the Southern Ocean
Thomas Chubb


Chubb T
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Alexander S
Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Australia

Huang V
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Siems S
School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University


Substantial biases in the radiation budget over the Southern Ocean have been shown to exist in the members of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects. These have been attributed to too little reflected short wave radiation, resulting in excess absorbed solar radiation at the ocean surface. While cloud coverage and vertical distribution are important factors, microphysical characteristics play an important role in determining cloud albedo, through droplet phase and size distribution, and longevity, through precipitation processes.

Cloud microphysical characteristics in the Southern Ocean are unique because of the unpolluted nature of the air, in particular the low ice nuclei concentrations, that the clouds form in. Satellite-based cloud lidar and radiometer observations suggest that supercooled liquid clouds, with little or no ice at temperatures well below freezing, occur frequently. However, in-situ observations of these clouds are lacking because of the remote nature of the region and the lack of aircraft observational capability in the Southern Hemisphere.

Recent developments in observational capabilities in both ground-based cloud lidar at the Australian Antarctic Division and aircraft-based cloud observational instruments present an exciting opportunity for research in Southern Ocean clouds and precipitation. A series of co-ordinated cloud lidar and aircraft operations near Hobart, Tasmania is proposed for the 2013 winter season, allowing for validation of the lidar retrievals and enhanced understanding of cloud microphysical parameters. High resolution Weather Research and Forecasting model data for these cases will be analysed for consistency with the observed conditions.

Latest news

  • Conference prize winners
    27 Jun 2013

    The Strategic Science in Antarctica conference concluded yesterday and two days of workshops have commenced. Congratulations to those who were awarded prizes for their contributions to the conference.

  • Watch the welcome message from Australia's Environment Minister
    24 Jun 2013

    In a welcome message via video from Canberra, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, reflected on the foresight of earlier decision-makers who agreed to set aside an entire continent for scientific research.

  • Last minute information for attendees
    20 Jun 2013

    There's not too long to wait until the start of the Strategic Science in Antarctica conference, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Read on for more information about the final program, registration, Twitter, presenters, posters and social functions.

More news…

Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 3 September 2013.