Part of the meteorological work package on board Oden involves measuring the properties of aerosols, i.e. tiny particles suspended in the air. Aerosols are very important for the climate because they act as nuclei on which cloud droplets and ice crystals form.
On board Oden we are measuring the concentration, size and chemical composition of aerosol particles; these measurements, combined with modelling of air mass flows in the days preceding the measurements can tell us a lot about the provenance of the particles. In particular, we can find out whether they have been produced locally or whether they have been transported from lower latitude, more polluted regions such as Eurasia. This knowledge is very important in order to understand how low-level stratus clouds, which are very common in the high Arctic, are formed.
As measurements on board the ship can sometimes be contaminated from the ship’s exhaust fumes (depending on the wind direction), we are also sampling aerosols away from the ship, during ice stations. Following setup of the aerosol instrumentation there is usually time to help the ice coring team – always a good workout on the ice.