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G. Vaughan, C. Schiller, A. R. MacKenzie, K. Bower, T. Peter, H. Schlager, N. R. P. Harris, and P. T. May

During November and December 2005, two consortia of mainly European groups conducted an aircraft campaign in Darwin, Australia, to measure the composition of the tropical upper-troposphere and tropopause regions, between 12 and 20 km, in order to investigate the transport and transformation in deep convection of water vapor, aerosols, and trace chemicals. The campaign used two high-altitude aircraft—the Russian M55 Geophysica and the Australian Grob 520 Egrett, which can reach 20 and 15 km, respectively—complemented by upward-pointing lidar measurements from the DLR Falcon and low-level aerosol and chemical measurements from the U.K. Dornier-228. The meteorology during the campaign was characterized mainly by premonsoon conditions—isolated afternoon thunderstorms with more organized convective systems in the evening and overnight. At the beginning of November pronounced pollution resulting from widespread biomass burning was measured by the Dornier, giving way gradually to cleaner conditions by December, thus affording the opportunity to study the influence of aerosols on convection. The Egrett was used mainly to sample in and around the outflow from isolated thunderstorms, with a couple of survey missions near the end. The Geophysica–Falcon pair spent about 40% of their flight hours on survey legs, prioritizing remote sensing of water vapor, cirrus, and trace gases, and the remainder on close encounters with storm systems, prioritizing in situ measurements. Two joint missions with all four aircraft were conducted: on 16 November, during the polluted period, sampling a detached anvil from a single-cell storm, and on 30 November, around a much larger multicellular storm.

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Peter T. May, James H. Mather, Geraint Vaughan, Keith N. Bower, Christian Jakob, Greg M. McFarquhar, and Gerald G. Mace
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Peter T. May, James H. Mather, Geraint Vaughan, Christian Jakob, Greg M. McFarquhar, Keith N. Bower, and Gerald G. Mace

A comprehensive dataset describing tropical cloud systems and their environmental setting and impacts has been collected during the Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment (TWPICE) and Aerosol and Chemical Transport in Tropical Convection (ACTIVE) campaign in the area around Darwin, Northern Australia, in January and February 2006. The aim of the experiment was to observe the evolution of tropical cloud systems and their interaction with the environment within an observational framework optimized for a range of modeling activities with the goal of improving the representation of cloud and aerosol process in a range of models. The experiment design utilized permanent observational facilities in Darwin, including a polarimetric weather radar and a suite of cloud remote-sensing instruments. This was augmented by a dense network of soundings, together with radiation, flux, lightning, and remote-sensing measurements, as well as oceanographic observations. A fleet of five research aircraft, including two high-altitude aircraft, were taking measurements of fluxes, cloud microphysics, and chemistry; cloud radar and lidar were carried on a third aircraft. Highlights of the experiment include an intense mesoscale convective system (MCS) developed within the network, observations used to analyze the impacts of aerosol on convective systems, and observations used to relate cirrus properties to the parent storm properties.

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Sarah A. Tessendorf, Roelof T. Bruintjes, Courtney Weeks, James W. Wilson, Charles A. Knight, Rita D. Roberts, Justin R. Peter, Scott Collis, Peter R. Buseck, Evelyn Freney, Michael Dixon, Matthew Pocernich, Kyoko Ikeda, Duncan Axisa, Eric Nelson, Peter T. May, Harald Richter, Stuart Piketh, Roelof P. Burger, Louise Wilson, Steven T. Siems, Michael Manton, Roger C. Stone, Acacia Pepler, Don R. Collins, V. N. Bringi, M. Thurai, Lynne Turner, and David McRae

As a response to extreme water shortages in southeast Queensland, Australia, brought about by reduced rainfall and increasing population, the Queensland government decided to explore the potential for cloud seeding to enhance rainfall. The Queensland Cloud Seeding Research Program (QCSRP) was conducted in the southeast Queensland region near Brisbane during the 2008/09 wet seasons. In addition to conducting an initial exploratory, randomized (statistical) cloud seeding study, multiparameter radar measurements and in situ aircraft microphysical data were collected. This comprehensive set of observational platforms was designed to improve the physical understanding of the effects of both ambient aerosols and seeding material on precipitation formation in southeast Queensland clouds. This focus on gaining physical understanding, along with the unique combination of modern observational platforms utilized in the program, set it apart from previous cloud seeding research programs. The overarching goals of the QCSRP were to 1) determine the characteristics of local cloud systems (i.e., weather and climate), 2) document the properties of atmospheric aerosol and their microphysical effects on precipitation formation, and 3) assess the impact of cloud seeding on cloud microphysical and dynamical processes to enhance rainfall. During the course of the program, it became clear that there is great variability in the natural cloud systems in the southeast Queensland region, and understanding that variability would be necessary before any conclusions could be made regarding the impact of cloud seeding. This article presents research highlights and progress toward achieving the goals of the program, along with the challenges associated with conducting cloud seeding research experiments

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