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  1. Abstract The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, prompting glacial melt, permafrost thaw, and sea ice decline. These severe consequences induce feedbacks that contribute to amplified warming, affecting weather and climate globally. Aerosols and clouds play a critical role in regulating radiation reaching the Arctic surface. However, the magnitude of their effects is not adequately quantified, especially in the central Arctic where they impact the energy balance over the sea ice. Specifically, aerosols called ice nucleating particles (INPs) remain understudied yet are necessary for cloud ice production and subsequent changes in cloud lifetime, radiative effects, and precipitation. Here, we report observations of INPs in the central Arctic over a full year, spanning the entire sea ice growth and decline cycle. Further, these observations are size-resolved, affording valuable information on INP sources. Our results reveal a strong seasonality of INPs, with lower concentrations in the winter and spring controlled by transport from lower latitudes, to enhanced concentrations of INPs during the summer melt, likely from marine biological production in local open waters. This comprehensive characterization of INPs will ultimately help inform cloud parameterizations in models of all scales.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2023
  3. The ship-based experiment MOSAiC 2019/2020 was carried out during a full year in the Arctic and yielded an excellent data set to test the parameterizations of ocean/sea-ice/atmosphere interaction processes in regional climate models (RCMs). In the present paper, near-surface data during MOSAiC are used for the verification of the RCM COnsortium for Small-scale MOdel–Climate Limited area Mode (COSMO-CLM or CCLM). CCLM is used in a forecast mode (nested in ERA5) for the whole Arctic with 15 km resolution and is run with different configurations of sea ice data. These include the standard sea ice concentration taken from passive microwave data with around 6 km resolution, sea ice concentration from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) thermal infrared data and MODIS sea ice lead fraction data for the winter period. CCLM simulations show a good agreement with the measurements. Relatively large negative biases for temperature occur for November and December, which are likely associated with a too large ice thickness used by CCLM. The consideration of sea ice leads in the sub-grid parameterization in CCLM yields improved results for the near-surface temperature. ERA5 data show a large warm bias of about 2.5°C and an underestimation of the temperature variability.
  4. Abstract. Snowfall is the major source of mass for the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) but the spatial and temporalvariability of snowfall and the connections between snowfall and mass balance have so far been inadequatelyquantified. By characterizing local atmospheric circulation and utilizing CloudSat spaceborne radarobservations of snowfall, we provide a detailed spatial analysis of snowfall variability and its relationshipto Greenland mass balance, presenting first-of-their-kind maps of daily spatial variability in snowfallfrom observations across Greenland. For identified regional atmospheric circulation patterns, we show that thespatial distribution and net mass input of snowfall vary significantly with the position and strength ofsurface cyclones. Cyclones west of Greenland driving southerly flow contribute significantly more snowfall thanany other circulation regime, with each daily occurrence of the most extreme southerly circulation patterncontributing an average of 1.66 Gt of snow to the Greenland ice sheet. While cyclones east of Greenland,patterns with the least snowfall, contribute as little as 0.58 Gt each day. Above 2 km on the ice sheet wheresnowfall is inconsistent, extreme southerly patterns are the most significant mass contributors, with up to1.20 Gt of snowfall above this elevation. This analysis demonstrates that snowfall over the interior ofGreenland varies by up to a factor of 5 depending on regional circulation conditions. Usingmore »independentobservations of mass changes made by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), we verify that thelargest mass increases are tied to the southerly regime with cyclones west of Greenland. For occurrences of thestrongest southerly pattern, GRACE indicates a net mass increase of 1.29 Gt in the ice sheet accumulation zone(above 2 km elevation) compared to the 1.20 Gt of snowfall observed by CloudSat. This overall agreementsuggests that the analytical approach presented here can be used to directly quantify snowfall masscontributions and their most significant drivers spatially across the GrIS. While previous research hasimplicated this same southerly regime in ablation processes during summer, this paper shows that ablation massloss in this circulation regime is nearly an order of magnitude larger than the mass gain from associatedsnowfall. For daily occurrences of the southerly circulation regime, a mass loss of approximately 11 Gt isobserved across the ice sheet despite snowfall mass input exceeding 1 Gt. By analyzing the spatialvariability of snowfall and mass changes, this research provides new insight into connections between regionalatmospheric circulation and GrIS mass balance.« less
  5. Accurate multidecadal radiative flux records are vital to understand Arctic amplification and constrain climate model uncertainties. Uncertainty in the NASA Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES)-derived irradiances is larger over sea ice than any other surface type and comes from several sources. The year-long Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition in the central Arctic provides a rare opportunity to explore uncertainty in CERES-derived radiative fluxes. First, a systematic and statistically robust assessment of surface shortwave and longwave fluxes was conducted using in situ measurements from MOSAiC flux stations. The CERES Synoptic 1degree (SYN1deg) product overestimates the downwelling shortwave flux by +11.40 Wm–2 and underestimates the upwelling shortwave flux by –15.70 Wm–2 and downwelling longwave fluxes by –12.58 Wm–2 at the surface during summer. In addition, large differences are found in the upwelling longwave flux when the surface approaches the melting point (approximately 0°C). The biases in downwelling shortwave and longwave fluxes suggest that the atmosphere represented in CERES is too optically thin. The large negative bias in upwelling shortwave flux can be attributed in large part to lower surface albedo (–0.15) in satellite footprint relative to surface sensors. Additionally, the results show thatmore »the spectral surface albedo used in SYN1deg overestimates albedo in visible and mid-infrared bands. A series of radiative transfer model perturbation experiments are performed to quantify the factors contributing to the differences. The CERES-MOSAiC broadband albedo differences (approximately 20 Wm–2) explain a larger portion of the upwelling shortwave flux difference than the spectral albedo shape differences (approximately 3 Wm–2). In addition, the differences between perturbation experiments using hourly and monthly MOSAiC surface albedo suggest that approximately 25% of the sea ice surface albedo variability is explained by factors not correlated with daily sea ice concentration variability. Biases in net shortwave and longwave flux can be reduced to less than half by adjusting both albedo and cloud inputs toward observed values. The results indicate that improvements in the surface albedo and cloud data would substantially reduce the uncertainty in the Arctic surface radiation budget derived from CERES data products.« less
  6. Abstract. The remoteness and extreme conditions of the Arctic make it a very difficult environment to investigate. In these polar regions covered by sea ice, the wind is relatively strong due to the absence of obstructions and redistributes a large part of the deposited snow mass, which complicates estimates for precipitation hardly distinguishable from blowing or drifting snow. Moreover, the snow mass balance in the sea ice system is still poorly understood, notably due to the complex structure of its surface. Quantitatively assessing the snow distribution on sea ice and its connection to the sea ice surface features is an important step to remove the snow mass balance uncertainties (i.e., snow transport contribution) in the Arctic environment. In this work we introduce snowBedFoam 1.0., a physics-based snow transport model implemented in the open-source fluid dynamics software OpenFOAM.We combine the numerical simulations with terrestrial laser scan observations of surface dynamics to simulate snow deposition in a MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) sea ice domain with a complicated structure typical for pressure ridges. The results demonstrate that a large fraction of snow accumulates in their vicinity, which compares favorably against scanner measurements. However, the approximations imposed bymore »the numerical framework, together with potential measurement errors (precipitation), give rise to quantitative inaccuracies, which should be addressed in future work. The modeling of snow distribution on sea ice should help to better constrain precipitation estimates and more generally assess and predict snow and ice dynamics in the Arctic.« less
  7. Abstract. Clouds warm the surface in the longwave (LW), and this warming effect can be quantified through the surface LW cloud radiativeeffect (CRE). The global surface LW CRE has been estimated over more than2 decades using space-based radiometers (2000–2021) and over the 5-year period ending in 2011 using the combination of radar, lidar and space-basedradiometers. Previous work comparing these two types of retrievals has shown that the radiometer-based cloud amount has some bias over icy surfaces. Here we propose new estimates of the global surface LW CRE from space-based lidarobservations over the 2008–2020 time period. We show from 1D atmosphericcolumn radiative transfer calculations that surface LW CRE linearly decreases with increasing cloud altitude. These computations allow us toestablish simple parameterizations between surface LW CRE and five cloud properties that are well observed by the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and InfraredPathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) space-based lidar: opaque cloud cover and altitude and thin cloud cover, altitude, and emissivity. We evaluate this new surface LWCRE–LIDAR product by comparing it to existingsatellite-derived products globally on instantaneous collocated data atfootprint scale and on global averages as well as to ground-based observations at specific locations. This evaluation shows good correlationsbetween this new product and other datasets. Ourmore »estimate appears to be animprovement over others as it appropriately captures the annual variabilityof the surface LW CRE over bright polar surfaces and it provides a datasetmore than 13 years long.« less
  8. Abstract. Data from the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition allowed us to investigate the temporal dynamics of snowfall, snow accumulation and erosion in great detail for almost the whole accumulation season (November 2019 to May 2020). We computed cumulative snow water equivalent (SWE) over the sea ice based on snow depth and density retrievals from a SnowMicroPen and approximately weekly measured snow depths along fixed transect paths. We used the derived SWE from the snow cover to compare with precipitation sensors installed during MOSAiC. The data were also compared with ERA5 reanalysis snowfall rates for the drift track. We found an accumulated snow mass of 38 mm SWE between the end of October 2019 and end of April 2020. The initial SWE over first-year ice relative to second-year ice increased from 50 % to 90 % by end of the investigation period. Further, we found that the Vaisala Present Weather Detector 22, an optical precipitation sensor, and installed on a railing on the top deck of research vessel Polarstern, was least affected by blowing snow and showed good agreements with SWE retrievals along the transect. On the contrary, the OTT Pluvio2 pluviometer and the OTT Parsivel2 laser disdrometer were largely affected by windmore »and blowing snow, leading to too high measured precipitation rates. These are largely reduced when eliminating drifting snow periods in the comparison. ERA5 reveals good timing of the snowfall events and good agreement with ground measurements with an overestimation tendency. Retrieved snowfall from the ship-based Ka-band ARM zenith radar shows good agreements with SWE of the snow cover and differences comparable to those of ERA5. Based on the results, we suggest the Ka-band radar-derived snowfall as an upper limit and the present weather detector on RV Polarstern as a lower limit of a cumulative snowfall range. Based on these findings, we suggest a cumulative snowfall of 72 to 107 mm and a precipitation mass loss of the snow cover due to erosion and sublimation as between 47 % and 68 %, for the time period between 31 October 2019 and 26 April 2020. Extending this period beyond available snow cover measurements, we suggest a cumulative snowfall of 98–114 mm.« less
  9. Abstract One of the most intense air mass transformations on Earth happens when cold air flows from frozen surfaces to much warmer open water in cold-air outbreaks (CAOs), a process captured beautifully in satellite imagery. Despite the ubiquity of the CAO cloud regime over high-latitude oceans, we have a rather poor understanding of its properties, its role in energy and water cycles, and its treatment in weather and climate models. The Cold-Air Outbreaks in the Marine Boundary Layer Experiment (COMBLE) was conducted to better understand this regime and its representation in models. COMBLE aimed to examine the relations between surface fluxes, boundary layer structure, aerosol, cloud, and precipitation properties, and mesoscale circulations in marine CAOs. Processes affecting these properties largely fall in a range of scales where boundary layer processes, convection, and precipitation are tightly coupled, which makes accurate representation of the CAO cloud regime in numerical weather prediction and global climate models most challenging. COMBLE deployed an Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Mobile Facility at a coastal site in northern Scandinavia (69°N), with additional instruments on Bear Island (75°N), from December 2019 to May 2020. CAO conditions were experienced 19% (21%) of the time at the main site (on Bear Island).more »A comprehensive suite of continuous in situ and remote sensing observations of atmospheric conditions, clouds, precipitation, and aerosol were collected. Because of the clouds’ well-defined origin, their shallow depth, and the broad range of observed temperature and aerosol concentrations, the COMBLE dataset provides a powerful modeling testbed for improving the representation of mixed-phase cloud processes in large-eddy simulations and large-scale models.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023