CLoud-Aerosol-Radiation Interactions and Forcing

The representation of clouds, aerosols and cloud-aerosol-radiation impacts remain the largest uncertainties in climate change, limiting our ability to accurately reconstruct and predict future climate change. The south-east Atlantic is a region where high atmospheric aerosol loadings from biomass burning and semi-permanent stratocumulus cloud are co-located, providing a natural laboratory for studying the full range of aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions and their perturbations of the Earth’s radiation budget.

The CLARIFY field campaign will take place in 2016 and will include airborne, surface-based and satellite measurements of clouds, aerosols, and their radiative impacts. The project aims to improve model estimates of biomass burning aerosol radiative effects; improve understanding of stratocumulus cloud microsphysical properties, and improve satellite retrieval of cloud and aerosol.

CLARIFY is a major consortium programme consisting of 5 UK universities (Exeter, Oxford, Leeds, Manchester and Reading) with project partners from the UK Met Office, European universities and research institutes, the US NSF ONFIRE (ObservatioNs of Fires Impact on the southeast Atlantic Region) and US NASA ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their interactions).

Richard Washington leads the ground-based instrument deployment in CLARIFY.

CLARIFY cloud and AOD

Mean Aug-Oct aerosol optical depth (colour contours), cloud fraction and aerosol emission estimates. The star shows the position of Walvis Bay (Namibia) and the arc around it is the operating range of the research aircraft.

CLARIFY is principally funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.


Prof Richard Washington (Project Co-I at Oxford)

Prof Philip Stier (Project PI at Oxford)

Prof Jim Haywood (overall Project PI)