National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

An overview of the Lagrangian experiments undertaken during the North Atlantic Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-2)

Johnson, D.W., S. Osborne, R. Wood, K. Suhre, R. Johnson, S. Businger, P.K. Quinn, A. Wiedensohler, P.A. Durkee, L.M. Russell, M.O. Andreae, C. O'Dowd, K.J. Noone, B. Bandy, J. Rudolph, and S. Rapsomanikis

Tellus, 52B(2), 290–320, doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2000.00057.x (2000)

One of the primary aims of the North Atlantic regional Aerosol Characterisation Experiment (ACE-2) was to quantify the physical and chemical processes affecting the evolution of the major aerosol types over the North Atlantic. The best, practical way of doing this is in a Lagrangian framework where a parcel of air is sampled over several tens of hours and its physical and chemical properties are intensively measured. During the intensive observational phase of ACE-2, between 15 June 1997 and 24 July 1997, 3 cloudy Lagrangian experiments and 3 cloud-free, Lagrangian experiments were undertaken between the south west tip of the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands. This paper gives an overview of the aims and logistics of all of the Lagrangian experiments and compares and contrasts them to provide a framework for the more focused Lagrangian papers in this issue and future process modelling studies and parametrisation development. The characteristics of the cloudy Lagrangian experiments were remarkably different, enabling a wide range of different physical and chemical processes to be studied. In the 1st Lagrangian, a clean maritime air mass was sampled in which salt particle production, due to increased wind speed, dominated the change in the accumulation mode concentrations. In the 2nd Lagrangian, extensive cloud cover resulted in cloud processing of the aerosol in a polluted air mass, and entrainment of air from the free troposphere influenced the overall decrease in aerosol concentrations in the marine boundary layer (MBL). Very little change in aerosol characteristics was measured in the 3rd Lagrangian, where the pollution in the MBL was continually being topped up by entraining air from a residual continental boundary layer (CL) above. From the analysis of all the Lagrangian experiments, it has been possible to formulate, and present here, a generalised description of a European continental outbreak of pollution over the sub-tropical North Atlantic.

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