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State-of-the-art instrumentation from the NCAS Atmospheric Measurement Facility (AMF) will be deployed on the Swedish research vessel Oden this year to observe the atmosphere in the Arctic. The measurement campaign is part of the Microbiology Ocean Cloud Coupling in the High Arctic (MOCCHA) research project, led by Professor Ian Brooks based at the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science and University of Leeds.

Scientists will measure the properties of clouds and the lowest part of the atmosphere by installing a suite of remote-sensing instruments onboard the icebreaker Oden during summer 2018. The Oden will be moored to a stable ice floe in the central Arctic Ocean to drift with the ice for one month, capturing data on the summer melt and early autumn freeze.

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Remote-sensing instruments, including radar and lidar, will continuously record data about the atmosphere, helping us gather information about how clouds are forming, developing, and dissipating in the Arctic. Radar and lidar instruments use radio-waves and light-waves to send and receive pulses of energy in the atmosphere. The reflected energy they receive provides information about the character of different particles in the atmosphere.

The AMF mobile cloud radar and aerosol doppler lidar will be deployed alongside a range of instruments including a ceilometer, micro rain radar, scanning microwave radiometer, and long and shortwave radiometers. These instruments will support Professor Ian Brooks to make surface flux measurements, which tells us about the how energy and gases are moving around near the surface of the earth.

The Arctic is a key region for climate change because it is changing rapidly, at least twice as fast as the global average. It is also one of the most difficult regions for scientists to accurately forecast changes in weather and climate due to limited observational records.

Scientists will use new observations of the atmosphere in combination with climate computer model simulations to help predict further changes in the Arctic. Observations collected during the MOCCHA campaign will help to improve climate forecasts for the Arctic by more accurately representing the properties and processes in this region in climate models.

MOCCHA is led by Professor Ian Brooks, Professor Benjamin Murray and Professor Paul Field from the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, and Dr Ryan Neely from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science. The project is taking place during the Year of Polar Prediction and project findings will be shared across a range of international partners, including the UK Met Office, the Swedish project Arctic Climate Across Scales (ACAS), and the UK project Measurements of Arctic Clouds, Snow and Sea Ice nearby the Marginal Ice Zone (MACSSIMIZE).