Stratospheric Aerosol processes, Budget and Radiative Effects

A NOAA Earth's Radiation Budget Initiative Project

Stratospheric aerosols are an important component of Earth's albedo, and therefore energy balance, and provide surface area for heterogeneous chemistry, which can lead to stratospheric ozone loss. Acquiring a comprehensive database of stratospheric aerosol, trace gas and dynamical observations to establish the baseline state and background variability of the stratosphere is essential to (1) developing a complete understanding of stratospheric dynamical and chemical processes that determine aerosol microphysics, radiative properties and heterogeneous chemistry, (2) evaluating the stratospheric response to natural and anthropogenic perturbations including climate change, volcanic eruptions, and potential climate intervention activities, and (3) strengthening the scientific foundation to inform policy decisions related to regulating global emissions that impact the stratosphere (e.g., ozone depleting substances, rocket exhaust) and the potential injection of material into the stratosphere to combat global warming (climate intervention). This project is an extended airborne science measurement program utilizing the NASA WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft to study the transport, chemistry, microphysics and radiative properties of aerosols in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). Complete execution of flight campaigns would provide extensive detailed measurements of aerosol size distributions, composition and radiative properties along with relevant trace gas species in different regions and seasons, which are critical for improving the ability of global models to accurately simulate the radiative, dynamical and chemical impacts of changes to stratospheric aerosol loading.

SABRE is a NOAA Earth's Radiation Budget (ERB) Initiative Project.