Westport S-Pol radar site.
Cloud and Aerosol Research is concerned with three broad areas of research that overlap in many important ways: atmospheric aerosols and trace gases, the physics and chemistry of clouds and precipitation, and mesoscale processes associated with cloud and precipitation systems.
The atmospheric aerosol and trace gas studies are concerned with the origins of various particles and gases in the air and their effects on the atmosphere on local, regional and global scales. This has involved the group in airborne measurements in many locations around the world and in studies of the emissions of particles and gases from the ocean, volcanos, forest fires and industries. Recent field projects have been carried out in Brazil, the Arctic, the Marshall Islands, Southern Africa, as well as North America.
For many years the department has been engaged in studies of the structures of clouds and the various processes that can lead to precipitation. Although rooted in field observations, this work includes conceptual and numerical model development. Studies included the effects of clouds on the radiative balance of the earth and climate as well as mesoscale studies of cloud and precipitation systems. One of the unique aspects of these studies is the blending of synoptic, mesoscale and microscale analyses. These studies have led to new conceptual models for the structures of winter cyclones on the west coast, east coast and central United States. Recent projects included the analysis of a large data set on the structure of clouds in the Pacific Northwest with the goal of improving the representation of cloud and precipitation processes in mesoscale models (The IMPROVE Project).