2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Oceans & Climate

Dr. Bernhard Lettau
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 90-17842
Station: McMurdo Station
RPSC POC: Paul Sullivan
Research Site(s): ARO

South Pole monitoring for climatic change -- U.S. Department of Commerce NOAA climate monitoring and diagnostic laboratory
Dr. Dave Hofmann
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Dr. Russ Schnell
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Deploying Team Members: Timothy A Berkoff . Andrew D Clarke . Bradley Hall . Redgie Lancaster . John Ogren . Russell C Schnell . Bryan Vasel
Research Objectives: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been conducting studies to determine and assess the long-term buildup of trace atmospheric constituents that influence climate change and the ozone layer. Time-series analyses of long-term data provide insight into several phenomena of particular interest. These include:

Seasonal and temporal variations in greenhouse gases,

Stratospheric ozone depletion,

Transantarctic transport and deposition,

The interplay of the trace gases and aerosols with solar and terrestrial radiation fluxes that occur on the polar plateau, and

The development of polar stratospheric clouds over Antarctica.

Project scientists measure carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, stable isotopic ratios of carbon dioxide and methane, aerosols, halocarbons, and other trace constituents. Flask samples are collected and returned for analysis, while concurrent in situ measurements are made of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, selected halocarbons, aerosols, solar and terrestrial radiation, water vapor, surface and stratospheric ozone, wind, pressure, air and snow temperatures and atmospheric moisture. Air samples at Palmer Station are also collected.

These measurements allow researchers to determine the rates at which concentrations of these atmospheric constituents change. They also point to likely sources, sinks, and budgets. This group collaborates with climate modelers and diagnosticians to explore how the rates of change of these parameters affect climate.

Field Season Overview:
Early in the field season, project team members will relieve the 2001 winter-over personnel and continue the atmospheric monitoring program, which includes monitoring surface and stratospheric ozone, carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone-depleting compounds, and other trace constituents of the atmosphere. At various times during the season, the team members will conduct the following experimental procedures:

- Sample air upwind of the station, in the Clean Air Sector,

- Measure ozone in the atmosphere optically, using a Dobson UV spectrometer operating through a window in the ARO,

- Sample ozone in the upper air (from the surface to over 30 kilometers), using ozonesonde payloads on high-altitude balloons launched from the BIF,

- Collect air samples in the Clean Air Sector near the snow surface and upwind of the ARO.

Samples and data will be returned to the home institution for analysis. Two project team members will remain at the station during the 2002 austral winter to operate and maintain the equipment and continue the research.