Field studies related to PISAC
PI: Dr. Carl Schmitt, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Co-Is and Collaborators: Dr. John All, Western Kentucky University, Dr. Aaron Celestian, Western Kentucky University, W. Pat Arnott, University of Nevada, Dr. Joshua Schwarz, National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Dr. Rebecca Cole, University of Hawaii.
Glaciers in the tropical Andes have been rapidly losing mass since the 1950s. In addition to the documented regional increase in temperature, increases in light absorbing particles on glaciers could be contributing to the observed glacier loss. For the past three years the American Climber Science Program (ACSP) has been sampling snow in the Cordillera Blanca Mountains in Peru in an effort to quantify the glacial contamination levels. The ACSP is a citizen science program which can leverage large volunteer groups to collect more samples. The ACSP uses a filter based technique to sample particles in snow. Results of the filter technique have been shown to be reasonably well correlated with mass estimates of refractory black carbon measured by the Soot Photometer-2 (SP2) instrument.
The Pollution Impact on Snow in the Cordillera-Experiments and Simulations (PISCES) project will start the first week of August and continue until the end of October, 2014. The goal of PISCES is to test the following null hypothesis: “The increase in concentrations of aerosol particles in the atmosphere over the Andes have not made a significant contribution to the receding cryosphere in that region”. Given that precipitation is one of the key components in glacier mass balance as well an in yearly snowpack volume, the project will seek to determine how urban emissions are processed within the frontal clouds and deposited onto the surface in the high mountains and to determine if the deposition of BC onto the cryosphere occurs via cloud processing (wet scavenging) or via dry deposition onto the fresh snow, but in between the passages of frontal systems.
The specific objectives to be addressed are: