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last modified 2010-09-28 22:23

Summary of the CNRS and Service d'Aéronomie activities


During the POLARCAT-France summer campaign, aircraft based measurements were performed out of Greenland, with the objective to investigate pollutant transport pathways to the Arctic, with respect to European outflow, Canadian and Siberian boreal forest fires. During the winter campaign, the aircraft was based at Kiruna, Sweden.

Organization: CNRS – French National Center for Scientific Research
Country: France
Location: Kiruna, Sweden/ Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Platform: ATR - 42 aircraft
Dates: March 3. – April 7. 2008/ July 4 – 22. 2008
Contact: K Law, CNRS


The POLARCAT activity, involving scientists from 18 countries, is an international programme of measurements (aircraft, balloons, ground-based, satellite), data analysis and modelling which aims to quantify the impact of trace gases, aerosols and heavy metals transported to the Arctic and their contribution to pollutant deposition and climate change in the region. POLARCAT, endorsed by IGAC, SPARC and iLEAPS, has 5 major scientific objectives:

  • Quantification of the major transport pathways controlling distributions of oxidants, aerosols, heavy metals in the Arctic troposphere during winter-spring when Arctic Haze is prevalent and during summertime.
  • Quantification of the optical properties and direct/indirect radiative effects of aerosols and their interactions with clouds and possible impacts on surface albedo and ice/snow cover.
  • Contribution of summertime boreal forest fires on atmospheric composition in the Arctic compared to other source regions (e.g. Asia) including the impact of soot deposition on snow/ice albedo and pyro-convection on the composition/aerosol loading of the stratosphere.
  • Determination of chemical processes controlling composition including quantification of sources and sinks of major oxidants such as ozone and nitrogen oxides.
  • Study of processes controlling inter-annual variations in atmospheric composition over the Arctic such as transport patterns (e.g. NAO) and changing emissions and the impact of chemistry-aerosol-climate feedbacks.

This proposal will make a major contribution to these POLARCAT objectives by making a series of unique aircraft measurements on tropospheric pollutants in northern Europe, Greenland and Russia. It is coordinated by Service d’Aéronomie; Kathy Law, the coordinator, is also co-coordinator POLARCAT. Other participating labs are Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique (LaMP), and Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE) and Laboratoire d’Aérologie as a sub-contractor of LSCE. This will offer the opportunity of a strong collaboration with many international groups (e.g. DLR, NASA, NOAA, NILU, IOA/IAB-Russia) also involved in making measurements with other aircraft etc. and data analysis in POLARCAT. The timeline for this 3-year project includes an initial phase of pre-campaign planning and analysis of existing data in 2007, data collection in 2008 and data analysis and publications in 2009. There are 4 scientific tasks:

Quantification of pollutant transport pathways with the French ATR aircraft, equipped with aerosol and ozone lidars (SA) to map distributions during a campaign in late winter/spring 2008 from northern Scandinavia to sample European outflow and in summer 2008, based in eastern Greenland to sample forest fire emissions to the Arctic. The French-Russian AEROSIB-YAK project will document the region of Siberia in Summer 2008

Aerosol-cloud interactions - to better quantify the impact of aerosol particle properties on the cloud characteristics (the indirect effect) in the Arctic, LaMP will make detailed in-situ measurements of aerosol-cloud microphysical and optical properties during the spring 2008 campaign with a strong link with the A-train satellite data.

Boreal forest fire impacts on aerosols and chemistry – by using the ATR-42 lidars during the summer 2008 campaign with joint flights with the German DLR Falcon equipped with extensive in-situ aerosol and chemistry measurements. Analysis of aerosol and pollutant plumes by satellite data (ACE, IASI, CALIPSO).

Data analysis– A photochemical trajectory model and a global chemistry-climate model (LMDz-INCA) will be used to analyse the data and investigate the processes governing pollutant composition and transport in the Arctic and chemistry-aerosol-climate feedbacks. A spectral microphysics model and bulk microphysical parameterizations used in high-resolution meso-scale models will be used to investigate cloud-aerosol-dynamical feedbacks and indirect radiative effects.

The funding request is for 2 campaigns of the French ATR in spring and summer 2008, a 1-week campaign of the YAK-Antonov in summer 2008, costs for meetings and coordination. Without support from ANR, French scientists will not be able to play a leading role in this major international IPY activity on chemistry, aerosols and climate.

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