The Center for Atmospheric Sciences | » The Aerosol and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE)

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  • The Aerosol and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE)

    I have had the opportunity to be a researcher on four different Aerosol and Ocean Science Expedition (AEROSE) research cruises aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Ronald H. Brown.  AEROSE is a series of trans-Atlantic research mission that seek to characterize the physical, chemical, and biological evolution of Saharan and sub-Saharan aerosols advected off the coast of Western Africa and transported westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  The AEROSE missions involve a suite of in-situ and remote sensing measurements to assess the impact of aerosols – specifically Saharan dust and sub-Saharan smoke – on the ocean and atmosphere during transport.

    Maritime atmospheres are an under-sampled region because it is difficult and expensive to collect in-situ measurements over the oceans.  Approximately 70% of the Earth is covered by water; therefore missions such as AEROSE help fill a void in the atmospheric data record as surface measurements over the oceans are very sparse.  While satellite measurements provide global data, the unique thermodynamic and dynamic nature of advected Saharan dust and biomass burning (smoke) aerosols provide a challenge for satellite retrievals. Radiosonde, ozonesonde, and surface radiation measurements collected during AEROSE are particularly important for satellite validation and calibration.  Other measurements collected during AEROSE include sun photometer measurements, bulk and size segregated Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 μm and PM 10 μm aerosol sampling, and surface ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or NOx, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) trace gas sampling.

    Each AEROSE mission is supplied with radiosondes and ozonesondes to support satellite validation of low earth orbit (LEO) passive satellites.  Radiosondes, which measure temperature, humidity, pressure, and vertical wind profiles of wind speed and direction, are launched during overpasses for the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) on the MetOp-A satellite (launched in 2006) and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Cross-track Infrared Sounder (NPP-CrIS), launched in 2011.  Ozonesondes provide column ozone data.