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  • Author or Editor: Rachel Pinker x
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Robert C. Levy
and
Rachel T. Pinker

Bridging the gap between current research and the classroom is a major challenge to today's instructor, especially in the sciences where progress happens quickly. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland teamed up to design a graduate class project intended to provide a hands-on introduction to the physical basis for the retrieval of aerosol properties from state-of-the-art Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations. Students learned to recognize spectral signatures of atmospheric aerosols and perform spectral inversions. They became acquainted with the operational MODIS aerosol retrieval algorithm over oceans and methods for its evaluation, including comparisons with ground-based Aerosol Robotic Network sun-photometer data.

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Atsumu Ohmura
,
Ellsworth G. Dutton
,
Bruce Forgan
,
Claus Fröhlich
,
Hans Gilgen
,
Herman Hegner
,
Alain Heimo
,
Gert König-Langlo
,
Bruce McArthur
,
Guido Müller
,
Rolf Philipona
,
Rachel Pinker
,
Charlie H. Whitlock
,
Klaus Dehne
, and
Martin Wild

To support climate research, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) initiated a new radiometric network, the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). The network aims at providing validation material for satellite radiometry and climate models. It further aims at detecting long-term variations in irradiances at the earth's surface, which are believed to play an important role in climate change. The network and its instrumentation are designed 1) to cover major climate zones, 2) to provide the accuracy required to meet the objectives, and 3) to ensure homogenized standards for a long period in the future. The limits of the accuracy are defined to reach these goals. The suitable instruments and instrumentations have been determined and the methods for observations and data management have been agreed on at all stations. Measurements of irradiances are at 1 Hz, and the 1-min statistics (mean, standard deviation, and extreme values) with quality flags are stored at a centralized data archive at the WCRP's World Radiation Monitoring Center (WRMC) in Zurich, Switzerland. The data are quality controlled both at stations and at the WRMC. The original 1-min irradiance statistics will be stored at the WRMC for 10 years, while hourly mean values will be transferred to the World Radiation Data Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. The BSRN, consisting of 15 stations, covers the earth's surface from 80°N to 90°S, and will soon be joined by seven more stations. The data are available to scientific communities in various ways depending on the communication environment of the users. The present article discusses the scientific base, organizational and technical aspects of the network, and data retrieval methods; shows various application possibilities; and presents the future tasks to be accomplished.

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Mark A. Bourassa
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Cecilia Bitz
,
David Carlson
,
Ivana Cerovecki
,
Carol Anne Clayson
,
Meghan F. Cronin
,
Will M. Drennan
,
Chris W. Fairall
,
Ross N. Hoffman
,
Gudrun Magnusdottir
,
Rachel T. Pinker
,
Ian A. Renfrew
,
Mark Serreze
,
Kevin Speer
,
Lynne D. Talley
, and
Gary A. Wick

Polar regions have great sensitivity to climate forcing; however, understanding of the physical processes coupling the atmosphere and ocean in these regions is relatively poor. Improving our knowledge of high-latitude surface fluxes will require close collaboration among meteorologists, oceanographers, ice physicists, and climatologists, and between observationalists and modelers, as well as new combinations of in situ measurements and satellite remote sensing. This article describes the deficiencies in our current state of knowledge about air–sea surface fluxes in high latitudes, the sensitivity of various high-latitude processes to changes in surface fluxes, and the scientific requirements for surface fluxes at high latitudes. We inventory the reasons, both logistical and physical, why existing flux products do not meet these requirements. Capturing an annual cycle in fluxes requires that instruments function through long periods of cold polar darkness, often far from support services, in situations subject to icing and extreme wave conditions. Furthermore, frequent cloud cover at high latitudes restricts the availability of surface and atmospheric data from visible and infrared (IR) wavelength satellite sensors. Recommendations are made for improving high-latitude fluxes, including 1) acquiring more in situ observations, 2) developing improved satellite-flux-observing capabilities, 3) making observations and flux products more accessible, and 4) encouraging flux intercomparisons.

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