The Ny-Ålesund Aerosol Cloud Experiment (NASCENT): Overview and First Results
The Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the global average. This warming is influenced by clouds, which modulate the solar and terrestrial radiative fluxes and, thus, determine the surface energy budget. However, the interactions among clouds, aerosols, and radiative fluxes in the Arctic are still poorly understood. To address these uncertainties, the Ny-Ålesund Aerosol Cloud Experiment (NASCENT) study was conducted from September 2019 to August 2020 in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. The campaign’s primary goal was to elucidate the life cycle of aerosols in the Arctic and to determine how they modulate cloud properties throughout the year. In situ and remote sensing observations were taken on the ground at sea level, at a mountaintop station, and with a tethered balloon system. An overview of the meteorological and the main aerosol seasonality encountered during the NASCENT year is introduced, followed by a presentation of first scientific highlights. In particular, we present new findings on aerosol physicochemical and molecular properties. Further, the role of cloud droplet activation and ice crystal nucleation in the formation and persistence of mixed-phase clouds, and the occurrence of secondary ice processes, are discussed and compared to the representation of cloud processes within the regional Weather Research and Forecasting Model. The paper concludes with research questions that are to be addressed in upcoming NASCENT publications.