National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

The 2nd Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-2): General overview and main results

Raes, F., T.S. Bates, F. McGovern, and M. Van Liedekerke

Tellus, 52B, 111–125, doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2000.00124.x (2000)

This overview summarizes the objectives of the Aerosol Characterization Experiments (ACEs) of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) project and the research strategy implemented in the second of this series of experiments (ACE-2). ACE-2 took place from 16 June to 24 July 1997, over the sub-tropical North-East Atlantic. It provided an opportunity to study the properties, processes and effects of contrasting aerosol types in this region, including background marine and anthropogenic pollution aerosol in the marine boundary layer (MBL), and background aerosol and mineral dust in the overlaying free troposphere (FT). The major achievements of ACE-2 include: (a) identification of entrainment, in-cloud scavenging and coagulation as the major processes transforming a pollution aerosol transported withing the MBL; (b) the first documentation of the indirect radiative effect of aerosols at the scale of a cloud ensemble in continental pollution outflow; (c) observation of a wide range in the contribution of organic material to the sub-micron aerosol mass, with possibly the highest contribution in the free tropospheric; (d) improved understanding of the role of condensing HCl, HNO3, and NH3 as a growth mechanism of sub-micron aerosols in polluted air masses advecting over the ocean. A close connection was observed between meteorological factors (such as horizontal and vertical wind speed, boundary layer development, entrainment, humidity fields) and aerosol and cloud characteristics. In the ACE-2 region, these meteorological factors, rather than aerosol microphysics and chemistry, often dominated the shaping of the aerosol size distribution and/or their effect on radiation and clouds. The ACE-2 data presently analyzed provide a qualitative, and in many cases a quantitative understanding of the complex gas/aerosol/cloud system in the sub-tropical marine environment. This will guide future model development. Some major data sets are still to be analyzed.

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