The Atlantic Stratocumulus Experiment (ASTEX) was conducted over the northeast Atlantic Ocean during June 1992 with substantial international collaboration. The main goal of ASTEX was to study the climatologically important transition between solid stratocumulus and subtropical trade cumulus cloud regimes using island, aircraft, ship, and satellite measurements. Typically, the boundary layer was found to support cumulus clouds detraining into a patchy and fairly thin upper-stratocumulus layer. The substantial microphysical variability between clean marine and polluted continental air masses observed during ASTEX affected both drizzle and cloud properties. Highlights of the ASTEX research strategy included use of the ECMWF operational forecast model for assimilation of ASTEX soundings to obtain improved regional meteorological analyses; “Lagrangian” measurements of boundary-layer evolution following an air mass using aircraft and balloons, extensive coordinated use of surface, airborne, and satellite platforms; and an extensive suite of island-based remote sensing systems including millimeter-wavelength radars. A summary of ASTEX is presented and some initial results are presented.
*Department of Meteorology and Earth Systems Science Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
+Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
#Meteorological Research Flight, Farnborough, England.
@Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
&NOAA/ETL, Boulder, Colorado.