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The Southern Ocean and Antarctic cloud systems explored with the new Marine National Facility Investigator Research Vessel

The Southern Ocean and Antarctic cloud systems explored with the new Marine National Facility Investigator Research Vessel
Alain Protat


A. Protat and P. T. May
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research


The Southern Ocean (SO) is a region of great importance to global and Australian climate and weather. Most of the significant weather in Australia is associated with fronts, but their cloud microphysical structure, cloud properties and boundary layer structure are very poorly observed over the SO. Climate models also poorly represent the cloud field over the SO and, as a consequence, poorly predict the energy balance. Accurately predicting the structure and evolution of fronts and associated cloud systems in those models is therefore of great practical importance. One can only rely on satellite observations in this data sparse part of the globe for this, but due to the unique SO environment (pristine air, high low-level shear, and copious amounts of supercooled liquid water) a thorough evaluation of the satellite products is needed with dedicated observations.

Early next year, the Marine National Facility Research Vessel Investigator will start serving as an invaluable platform for the Australian and international scientific community to investigate (among other things) clouds, aerosol, and precipitation properties, as well as their interactions over the oceans surrounding Australia. Our first priority will be to organize deployments over the SO. In this talk we will describe the process-oriented studies planned in collaboration with AAD, CSIRO, and Australian Universities for the 2014-2018 to improve the representation of frontal cloud systems in the Australian weather forecast model (ACCESS).

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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 2 September 2013.