Development of the Autonomous Arctic Infrared Observer (AAIRO) Grant uri icon



  • The project will be a ?proof of concept? for a new instrument platform called the Autonomous Arctic Infrared Observer (AAIRO). The primary goal is to assess the value of data products retrieved from simulated AAIRO measurements relative to instruments that are currently deployed as part of the ICECAPS experiment. [ICECAPS stands for Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit.] A computer model will be developed that simulates the operation of the AAIRO by degrading the spectral resolution of spectra from the Polar Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (P-AERI) deployed at Summit, Greenland. Algorithms will be used to retrieve atmospheric properties from the simulated AAIRO spectra. Retrieved properties will include near-surface temperature structure, trace gas amounts of water vapor, carbon monoxide, and methane, and macrophysical (fraction, base height) and microphysical properties (phase, effective particle radius, optical depth) of clouds. Retrieved properties from the AAIRO simulator will be compared to those retrieved from the suite of ICECAPS instruments. This project will prove the usefulness of the AAIRO as a complementary instrument within the broader context of NSF?s Arctic Observing Network and will set the stage for future development of the actual AAIRO instrument. A graduate student and a postdoctoral fellow who will have the opportunity to be involved in both infrared instrument design and remote sensing retrievals. Proof of the AAIRO?s measurement capabilities could potentially improve the polar research community?s ability to address the basic science questions outlined in the SEARCH Implementation Plan. The potential development of an instrument like that AAIRO complements other existing and proposed sensors and could provide a more complete network of observations that are critical for understanding the Arctic system.

date/time interval

  • September 15, 2011 - August 31, 2013

total award amount

  • 199,999