Dr. Duncan Axisa Highlights How an Optical Sensor is Streamlining Study of Aerosols and their Potential Impact on Climate
Dr. Duncan Axisa, Co-Principal Investigator (CO-PI) of UAEREP’s 3rd Cycle Awardee Dr. Eric Frew and Director of Science Programs at Colorado-based Droplet Measurement Technologies, and his team travel around the globe to help scientists better predict the weather, specifically precipitation. Axisa has deployed aerosol and cloud sensors in the US, Europe, Australia, Arabian Peninsula, India and Asia.
A recent publication titled ‘DROPS in a CLOUD’ by the United States Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review highlighted the features of the specialized, SBIR-funded instrument used by Axisa and his team to accurately measure not only the size of particles within a cloud, but also their shapes and water content. Developed in 1996 by Droplet Measurement Technologies, this spectrometer, named CAPS (Cloud, Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer), is at the forefront of global climate research being used in everything from climate change research to private sector studies on weather applications around the globe. One of those applications includes weather modification research.
In the publication Axisa highlights the shift in the study of aerosols over the past few years which he attributes to the growth of climate change as a field of study, and partly to the consistent use of optical spectrometers to help scientists collect data on aerosol-cloud interactions. Axisa, whose primary area of study is the impact of aerosols on clouds and precipitation, took the CAPS instrument around the world to study how airborne aerosols, pollution particles, dust and salt interact with clouds and modify precipitation.
Axisa notes that measurements from the CAPS have contributed immensely to the advancement of our understanding of the aerosols and clouds in the earth’s atmosphere, and instruments like CAPS are fueling studies critical to the future of our planet.
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