Isn’t it just relaxing to look into the sky and watch the clouds? How they seem to appear in the sky, how they move and eventually disappear?
I have been fascinated by clouds since I was a child. During my time as a meteorology student, I learned that describing all the processes inside a cloud is a complex issue, and a lot of processes are still uncertain. As a PhD student, I research the chemical composition of trace gases and cloud particles of Arctic clouds to improve the understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions. Arctic clouds scatter solar radiation back to space while trapping longwave radiation below. This is why Arctic clouds are thought to contribute to the accelerated surface warming that is observed in the Arctic.
When I went to Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard in October 2019, I was not only very impressed by the beauty of the nature there. I also couldn’t observe my own breath in form of a little cloud right in front of in the about -8 °C cold air – different from what I experienced during Mid-Europe winter This shows how clean the air in this remote place actually is.
For a cloud droplet to form, a little surface is needed on which water vapor can condense. These surfaces are aerosol particles – liquid or solid particles suspended in the air of only a few nanometers to tens of micrometers in diameter. These particles can have different origins: they can come into the atmosphere on a natural way such as from the ocean or from vegetation, but also through human-made emissions like from cars and industry.
Only a few tens to a few hundreds of particles can be found per cubic centimeter of air in Ny-Ålesund compared to several thousands in a polluted urban area. However, due to changing transport pathways throughout the year the sources and removal processes of the particles change as well. Hence, the number of particles changes, and with that also the cloud formation. With a comprehensive setup of instruments at the Zeppelin Observatory in Ny-Ålesund from fall 2019 until fall 2020, we look at the particles inside the cloud droplets and identify what the particles are made of during different periods of the year.
As an IASC fellow in the Atmosphere Working Group I am looking forward to discussing and collaborating with experts in the changing Arctic environment and gaining more insight into how research is organized and disseminated.
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IASC Fellowship Program
The IASC Fellowship Program is meant to engage Early Career Scientists (ECS) in the work of the IASC Working Groups (WGs). IASC Fellows are doctoral or postdoctoral researchers who actively participate in selected activities of the IASC WGs. The total duration of the IASC Fellowship Program is 1+2 years. After the first year the Fellows have an opportunity to stay involved up to 2 more years. The further involvement is individually decided by the WG Steering Group and the Fellow.
From 2020, following the recommendations of the IASC Action Group on Indigenous Involvement (AGII), IASC welcomed also two indigenous Fellows (Inaugural Fellows announced on 27 April 2020). IASC has had Indigenous Fellows before, but this new recommendation (and budget line!) means that there will be at least one every year, as an additional sixth Fellow appointed each year. They will be able to choose whichever IASC Working Group is most of interest and relevance to them.
The IASC fellowship Program opens for new candidates every year around late September and is due mid-November. The call and the selection is held in collaboration with APECS.