The Climate Change Tower- Integrated Project

Climate Change in the Arctic is more visible and develops faster than in any other part of the Earth. The permanent presence of sea ice, ice sheets snow and continuous permafrost are unique features of the polar regions and amplify the impact of global climate change on the regional physical climate systems. Humans are inextricably linked to the changes we are observing today, as drivers of change through anthropogenic activities and as the many populations needing to prepare for the uncertainties that lie ahead. To establish super-sites where to measure the largest number of key parameters, perform closure experiments, assess knowledge on processes and evaluate uncertainties in their parameterizations, is important to understand the Arctic climate system. Svalbard lie in an ideal position to monitor the combined effects of climate change affecting the atmosphere, as well as the ocean and land, and Ny-Ålesund represents a unique site, where international cooperation among countries can allow the monitoring of a much greater number of key parameters of the Arctic climate system.

Map of the Kongsfjorden and Brogger peninsula with location of Ny-Ålesund

The Climate Change Tower - Integrated Project aims to be a scientific and experimental platform to investigate arctic atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) energy budget, and the role played by the different processes involving air, aerosols, clouds, snow, ice, sea and land (permafrost and vegetation).

Sketch of the CCT-IP linking the component of the climate system in the Kingsfiord

A key element of this integrated platform is the 34 m height Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower (CCT). Other two important infrastructures are Gruvebadet Aerosol Laboratory (GAL) and the Mooring Dirigibile Italia (MDI). Accurate measurements of radiation fluxes, as well as those of sensible and latent heat, will allow the evaluation of both radiation and energy balance. Research activities on permafrost will allow to monitor and evaluate the transfer of energy dozens of meters deep and how climatic changes affect the lower strata, while ABL measurements will permit to extend studies on energy transfer processes up to levels of hundreds meters. Monitoring of aerosol physico-chemical characteristics, cloudiness and surface properties will allow to determine their role in modulating balance at the surface and influence in starting the snow-melting process in spring. Measurements of down-welling and up-welling mass fluxes (aerosols, gaseous substances) and measurements of more important Short-lived Pollutants (SLPs) will permit to improve our knowledge on chemical and physical processes controlling the dynamic of trace elements (and their species) in the Arctic snow and highlight the importance of local surface processes with respect to long-range transport processes.

View of Kongsfjorden and Ny-Ålesund Reseach Station with the indication of the facilities relating to the Arctic Station Dirigibile Italia (in the small picture)

CNR - National Research Council - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies - Piazzale Aldo Moro, 7 - 00185 Rome - ITALY - E-Mail: angelopietro.viola AT

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