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Scientists Conduct Cloud Research in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

November 16, 2011

Courtesy of Jeff French
Scientists and faculty from the Department of Atmospheric Science (UW-DAS) participated in "The Ice in Clouds Experiment-Tropical Field Campaign" (ICE-T) this past July in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Research Scientist Dave Leon and Professors Zhien Wang and Jeff Snider were principal investigators in the campaign aimed at investigating the onset and initial growth of ice in convective clouds within the maritime tropical environment. Even in the tropics, ice processes are critical to precipitation development in convective clouds. Tropical clouds in turn are important to the global water cycle.

As part of ICE-T, Drs. Leon, Wang and Snider in collaboration with scientists from several universities across the United States, used the National Science Foundation/National Center for Atmospheric Research C130 research aircraft to obtain measurements within growing cumulus clouds to measure ice concentrations and to determine mechanisms responsible for the initial formation of ice and the factors responsible for controlling how much ice is produced. Key instruments on the C130 included the Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) and Wyoming Cloud Lidars (WCL) which allow investigators to "look into the cloud" away from the aircraft to gain a better understanding of the processes occurring in these clouds. Both the WCR and WCL(s) are part of the University of Wyoming King Air National Facility and are operated regularly on the UW King Air as well as other NSF aircraft to investigate atmospheric processes in clouds. In addition to the scientific investigative personnel from UW-DAS, scientists Jeff French, Larry Oolman, and Sam Haimov participated in ICE-T to support the deployment of these critical instruments. ICE-T was the fourth deployment for these instruments and the third outside of the continental United States in past 10 months.


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