Saturday, 13 January 2007
Boundary layer structure and aerosols from ship observations over the Eastern Caribbean
Off the islands of Barbuda and Antigua in the Lesser Antilles, the Rain In Cumulus over the Ocean NSF sponsored field project, or RICO, took place from November 24 to January 24. The scientific objective of this field project was to characterize and identify precipitation processes within shallow maritime cumulus clouds because of their importance to understanding the global energy balance and climate. Scientists and students from the University of Miami were based on the R/V Seward Johnson and were instrumental in the operation and success of the experiment. Radiosondes were launched from the deck of the ship 4-6 times per day during the operation period. Other instruments aboard the ship included the Lasair II, which was used to measure aerosol concentrations, a 915 MHz Doppler wind profiler, and a flux tower. The radiosonde data was used to calculate essential atmospheric variables in order to determine the vertical structure of the boundary layer. The wind profiler data gave the horizontal component of the wind speed and direction for several kilometers up into the atmosphere. The data collected allowed for analysis, both long term and for a specific period, that produced a structure of the boundary layer and a possible connection between changes in both boundary layer conditions and aerosol concentration trends, along with the advection of different air masses.