Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA)

1 September 1997 - 1 September 1998

Lead Scientist: Richard Moritz

Observatory: NSA

The overarching purpose of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) was to produce year-long retrievals of cloud properties, including crystal/droplet sizes, optical depths, water contents, and cloud boundaries through the depth of the troposphere. These results were intended to enhance the understanding of the thermodynamic coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean when covered with sea ice.

Beginning in October 1997 and lasting for 12 months, the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic experiment, a multi-agency program led by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research, deployed an instrumented ice camp within the perennial Arctic Ocean ice pack surrounding the Des Groseilliers, an ice-strengthened ship. From this experiment, ARM began collecting complementary data on the atmosphere, sea ice, and underlying ocean and the North Slope of Alaska observatory was born.In 1997, SHEBA participants placed a Canadian icebreaker, DesGroseilliers, in the Arctic ice pack 570 kilometers northeast of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. During its year-long deployment, the DesGroseilliers powered a comprehensive suite of atmospheric, ocean, and ice sensors that were operated on the ship and the surrounding ice floe. In addition, ARM deployed two dozen instruments, including a lidar and millimeter cloud radar, and gathered 10 sets of vertical profiles of clouds and aerosol properties data from over the SHEBA site.

The interdisciplinary effort between ARM and NOAA for SHEBA consisted of three phases. The first began in 1995 with the examination of existing Arctic data and models, the second involved the deployment and operation of instruments as part of SHEBA field effort, and the third ended in 2002 with in-depth analysis of processes and feedback mechanisms from data obtained during the SHEBA deployment. Both ARM and NOAA contributed equipment, data, and personnel to this NSF-funded multiseason field experiment, which helped develop detailed models of physical processes on a local and aggregate scale.

Additional Information

Related Publications


Podgorny I, D Lubin, and D Perovich. 2018. "Monte Carlo Study of UAV-Measurable Albedo over Arctic Sea Ice." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 35(1), 10.1175/JTECH-D-17-0066.1.


Li Z, K Xu, and A Cheng. 2017. "The Response of Simulated Arctic Mixed-Phase Stratocumulus to Sea Ice Cover Variability in the Absence of Large-Scale Advection." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122(22), 10.1002/2017JD027086.

Gryanik V and C L├╝pkes. 2017. "An Efficient Non-iterative Bulk Parametrization of Surface Fluxes for Stable Atmospheric Conditions Over Polar Sea-Ice." Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 166(2), 10.1007/s10546-017-0302-x.

Sorbjan Z. 2017. "Assessment of Gradient-Based Similarity Functions in the Stable Boundary Layer Derived from a Large-Eddy Simulation." Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 163(3), 10.1007/s10546-017-0234-5.


Persson P, M Shupe, D Perovich, and A Solomon. 2016. "Linking atmospheric synoptic transport, cloud phase, surface energy fluxes, and sea-ice growth: observations of midwinter SHEBA conditions." Climate Dynamics, 49(4), 10.1007/s00382-016-3383-1.

Pithan F, A Ackerman, WM Angevine, K Hartung, L Ickes, M Kelley, B Medeiros, I Sandu, G Steeneveld, HA Sterk, G Svensson, PA Vaillancourt, and A Zadra`. 2016. "Select strengths and biases of models in representing the Arctic winter boundary layer over sea ice: the Larcform 1 single column model intercomparison." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 8(3), 10.1002/2016ms000630.


Kaul CM, J Teixeira, and K Sizilo. 2015. "Sensitivities in Large-Eddy Simulations of Mixed-Phase Arctic Stratocumulus Clouds Using a Simple Microphysics Approach*." Monthly Weather Review, 143(11), 10.1175/mwr-d-14-00319.1.

Niu X and RT Pinker. 2015. "An improved methodology for deriving high-resolution surface shortwave radiative fluxes from MODIS in the Arctic region." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(6), 10.1002/2014jd022151.


Solomon A, M Shupe, O Persson, H Morrison, T Yamaguchi, PM Caldwell, and G de Boer. 2014. "The Sensitivity of Springtime Arctic Mixed-Phase Stratocumulus Clouds to Surface-Layer and Cloud-Top Inversion-Layer Moisture Sources." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 71(2), 10.1175/jas-d-13-0179.1.
Research Highlight


Pithan F, B Medeiros, and T Mauritsen. 2013. "Mixed-phase clouds cause climate model biases in Arctic wintertime temperature inversions." Climate Dynamics, 43(1-2), 10.1007/s00382-013-1964-9.

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Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Peter Hobbs UW- Convair-580 aircraft Order Data
James Liljegren MWR Order Data