Weather and climate models are challenged by uncertainties and biases in simulating Southern Ocean (SO) radiative fluxes that trace to a poor understanding of cloud, aerosol, precipitation and radiative processes, and their interactions. Projects between 2016 and 2018 used in-situ probes, radar, lidar and other instruments to make comprehensive measurements of thermodynamics, surface radiation, cloud, precipitation, aerosol, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nucleating particles over the SO cold waters, and in ubiquitous liquid and mixed-phase cloudsnucleating particles over the SO cold waters, and in ubiquitous liquid and mixed-phase clouds common to this pristine environment. Data including soundings were collected from the NSF/NCAR G-V aircraft flying north-south gradients south of Tasmania, at Macquarie Island, and on the RV Investigator and RSV Aurora Australis. Synergistically these data characterize boundary layer and free troposphere environmental properties, and represent the most comprehensive data of this type available south of the oceanic polar front, in the cold sector of SO cyclones, and across seasons.
Results show a largely pristine environments with numerous small and few large aerosols above cloud, suggesting new particle formation and limited long-range transport from continents, high variability in CCN and cloud droplet concentrations, and ubiquitous supercooled water in thin, multi-layered clouds, often with small-scale generating cells near cloud top. These observations demonstrate how cloud properties depend on aerosols while highlighting the importance of confirmed low clouds were responsible for radiation biases. The combination of models and observations is examining how aerosols and meteorology couple to control SO water and energy budgets.