A Community Laboratory Facility for Exploring and Sensing of Aerosol-Cloud-Drizzle Processes: The Aerosol-Cloud-Drizzle Convection Chamber

  • Shaw, Raymond A. (PI)
  • Flagan, Richard R.C. (CoPI)
  • Krueger, Steven S.K. (CoPI)
  • Fuentes, Jose (CoPI)
  • Kollias, Pavlos (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Atmospheric cloud chambers operate by mimicking the natural conditions that form clouds within a controlled environment. Scientists can vary the temperature, moisture, and particles within the chamber to assess how each of these factors controls the development and characteristics of cloud droplets. However, current cloud chambers are either too small or do not allow for the kinds of air motions that are ubiquitous in real clouds. This award provides funding to a cohort of researchers to conduct preliminary design work on a large cloud chamber that would be capable of producing droplets up to the size of drizzle, which is a key transition point for fully understanding the development of precipitation. At the end of the design project, the team will have solid plans to propose the construction of the cloud chamber. The proposed chamber would be a world-class facility and dramatically expand on the US research community's ability to conduct laboratory studies of clouds. The design project has significant student and post-doctoral training aspects, including a student visitor program that will engage underrepresented individuals.

This design project is for a large-scale Aerosol-Cloud-Drizzle-Convection Chamber (ACDC2) and accompanying instrumentation to explore chemical and physical interactions and evolution of aerosols, cloud droplets, and drizzle within turbulent clouds. Understanding and quantifying the full chain of events from aerosol activation to drizzle formation, and the associated feedbacks to the aerosol through chemical and physical processes, all within a turbulent cloud are some of the central uncertainties of atmospheric chemistry and physics, and are keys to the cloud-climate puzzle. The ACDC2 chamber would be a world-class facility as the only cloud chamber designed to explore problems linked to drizzle production. This project has three main objectives: 1) Design of chamber characteristics to achieve drizzle formation and aerosol processing, 2) Design of measurement system for aerosol, cloud, and drizzle characterization, and 3) Design of engineering and technical aspects, including a Project Execution Plan.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date8/15/217/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $2,903,682.00


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