Scientists from Cranfield’s Centre for Atmospherics Informatics and Emissions Technology will measure and interpret atmospheric gases in the pristine conditions around the Antarctic. This multinational, multidisciplinary expedition will advance understanding of a key issue in climate science; the effect of aerosols on the radiative properties of clouds.

At a glance

The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition
The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition

The ACE-SPACE project is looking to reduce the uncertainty in the effects of aerosols on cloud formation by exploring preindustrial-like conditions in the Southern Ocean. To achieve this, researchers will use Cranfield technology to conduct ship-based measurements of trace gases  in parallel with measurements of aerosol characteristics. These will be combined with onboard remote sensing and satellite data of clouds to evaluate global climate models.

The instrument, an iDIRAC chromatograph, will measure isoprene and DMS to help establish the effect these chemicals have on particle formation and subsequently climate change. Developed specifically for this expedition, Cranfield scientists built and trained the research crew to use the instrument.

The effects of aerosol-cloud interactions represent one of the largest uncertainties in how humans have impacted climate. The Southern Ocean is the most pristine aerosol environment on Earth, with the entire region remaining undersampled. The expedition will circumnavigate the South Pole, providing a unique and unprecedented opportunity to gather data and better understand the myriad influences on climate.

Cranfield equipment on the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition
Cranfield technology on the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition