FIRE-Arctic Cloud Experiment/SHEBA

19 May 1998 - 24 June 1998

Lead Scientist: Peter Hobbs

Observatory: NSA

Based in Barrow, Alaska, from May 15 through June 24, 1998, the Univ. of Washington carried out 23 research flights, amounting to 97.26 hours, in support of FIRE-ACE/SHEBA (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean).

The main goals of the flights were to measure the radiative properties and microphysical structures of various cloud types in the Arctic, to measure the BRDF and albedos of various surfaces (ice, snow and tundra) and various cloud types, and to obtain these measurements whenever possible either beneath the NASA ER-2 aircraft, over the SHEBA ship, or over the ARM site in Barrow for the purpose of comparing remote sensing and in situ measurements. Considerable data were collected relevant to all of these goals.

The data include: 10 sets of measurements over the ARM site (many with vertical profiles from close to the surface to above the main cloud and/or aerosol layers, and BRDF and albedo measurements), 8 flights over the SHEBA ship (including vertical profiles of cloud and aerosol properties, and BRDF and albedo measurements), and 4 flights beneath the ER-2 (three over ARM and one over the SHEBA ship). Other studies were carried out over the Chukchi Sea.

Measurements of cloud optical and radiative properties, and cloud microstructures, were obtained in stratus, altocumulus, and cirrus clouds. Total flight paths in stratus/stratocumulus, altocumulus, and cirrus/altostratus were approximately 1750, 900, and 5300 km, respectively.

Aerosol measurements were obtained in arctic haze layers, some no doubt from long-range transport, and also under very clean conditions.

Several new (or modified) instruments were operated on the CV-580 including the Gerber Scientific g-meter, the Pilewskie Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR), the NASA-Goddard/U. of Wash. Spectral Scanning Radiometer, and the SPEC Inc. Cloud Particle Imager.

This was the first field deployment of the Univ. of Wash's Convair-580 research aircraft. The aircraft performed very well, exceeding expectations in several respects. For example, the aircraft reached an altitude of 31,000 ft, and was able to deploy to the SHEBA ship, with adequate time on station to obtain measurements, even when the ship was well over 400 nm from Barrow.

Additional Information

Curry, J. A., Hobbs, P. V., King, M. D., Randall, D. A., Minnis, P., Isaac, G. A., Pinto, J. O., Uttal, T., Bucholtz, A., Cripe, D. G., Gerber, H., Fairall, C. W., Garrett, T. J., Hudson, J., Intrieri, J. M., Jakob, C., et, al., 2000. "FIRE Arctic Clouds Experiment" Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 81, pp. 5–30.

"Summary of Flights and Types of Data Collected on the University of Washington's (UW) Convair-580 Aircraft in the FIRE-ACE/SHEBA Project in the Arctic from 19 May Through 24 June 1998" (pdf file)

The report contains the following sections:

Section 1: Objectives of the UW Convair-580 Flights in FIRE-ACE/SHEBA

Section 2: Instrumentation Aboard the UW Convair-580 for FIRE-ACE/SHEBA

Section 3: Types of Data Collected Aboard the Convair-580 in FIRE-ACE/SHEBA

Section 4: Convair-580 Flights and Flight Tracks in FIRE-ACE/SHEBA

Section 5: In-Flight Summaries for Each Convair-580 Flight in FIRE-ACE/SHEBA

An important post-FIRE-ACE and SHEBA activity is to assure the quality of the measurements obtained. As part of this work, the research aircraft groups were charged with calibrating their cloud liquid water content (LWC) measurements in a common facility. This was been done in the Canadian NRC wind tunnel in Ottawa in April 1999.

A full report on the NRC wind tunnel calibrations, which were coordinated by Walter Strapp of AES, will be available in due course. In the meantime, a report on the results of the calibrations of the LWC probes aboard the University of Washington's Convair-580 aircraft is available on the CARG hompage: "Calibrations of Liquid Water Probes from the University of Washington's CV-580 Aircraft at the Canadian NRC Wind Tunnel" by Timothy Garrettt and Peter V. Hobbs.

Links UW Cloud and Aerosol Research Group's FIRE-ACE home page

Related Publications


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.


Fridlind AM, B van Diedenhoven, AS Ackerman, A Avramov, A Mrowiec, H Morrison, P Zuidema, and MD Shupe. 2012. "A FIRE-ACE/SHEBA case study of mixed-phase Arctic boundary layer clouds: Entrainment rate limitations on rapid primary ice nucleation processes." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 69(1), 10.1175/jas-d-11-052.1.


Morrison H, G de Boer, G Feingold, J Harrington, M Shupe, and K Sulia. 2011. "Resilience of persistent Arctic mixed-phase clouds." Nature Geoscience, 5(1), 10.1038/ngeo1332.

van Diedenhoven B, AM Fridlind, and AS Ackerman. 2011. "Influence of Humidified Aerosol on Lidar Depolarization Measurements below Ice-Precipitating Arctic Stratus." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 50(10), 10.1175/jamc-d-11-037.1.

Morrison H, P Zuidema, AS Ackerman, A Avramov, G de Boer, J Fan, AM Fridlind, T Hashino, JY Harrington, Y Luo, M Ovchinnikov, and B Shipway. 2011. "Intercomparison of cloud model simulations of Arctic mixed-phase boundary layer clouds observed during SHEBA/FIRE-ACE." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 3(2), M06003, 10.1029/2011ms000066.


Zuidema P, B Baker, Y Han, J Intrieri, J Key, P Lawson, S Matrosov, M Shupe, R Stone, and T Uttal. 2005. "An Arctic Springtime Mixed-Phase Cloud Boundary Layer Observed During SHEBA." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 62, 10.1175/jas-3368.1.

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Campaign Data Sets

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