Atmospheric System Research is a DOE observation-based research program created to advance process-level understanding of the key interactions among aerosols, clouds, precipitation, radiation, dynamics, and thermodynamics, with the ultimate goal of reducing the uncertainty in global and regional climate simulations and projections. General areas of research at BNL under this program include studies of aerosol and cloud lifecycles, and cloud-aerosol-precipitation interactions.
The strategic focus of the Aerosol Life Cycle research is observation-based process science—examining the properties and evolution of atmospheric aerosols. Observations come from both long-term studies conducted by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility and short-term field campaigns (referred to in ARM as Intensive Observation Periods, or IOPs). Much insight is gained also from laboratory investigations.
To improve the representation of cloud properties and processes in climate models, BNL has been actively engaged in the development of innovative remote sensing techniques (surface-based and satellite), the analysis of cloud process, the development of theory, and the infusion of these data and theory into models.
Research in this area focuses on improving the characterization of aerosol properties such as number concentration, hygroscopicity, and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) properties that are critical for evaluating indirect aerosol effects. This comprehensive, multi-faceted approach enables addressing important issues over a wide range of scales—from cloud-scale to climate model grid scale.