A look back at Ucluelet 2013, by Ryan Mason

During August of 2013, a number of measurements were made at the coastal marine boundary layer site of Amphitrite Point near the small (and beautiful) town of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. As recent modelling studies suggest that primary marine particles may influence the formation and properties of ice and mixed phase clouds in marine regions, coastal sites such as this are vitally important in assessing links between the ocean and atmosphere. We hoped to address this during the focused four-week field study.

The laboratories were close to Amphitrite Lighthouse, a local tourist attraction and site of meteorological equipment.
The laboratories were close to Amphitrite Lighthouse, a local tourist attraction and site of meteorological equipment.

Needing to supply our own mobile laboratory, we were able to outfit a commercial cargo trailer with power for the instrumentation and a roof platform for dedicated sampling inlets. A big thanks to Corinne Schiller from Environment Canada for her advice and assistance and the crews of the UBC electronics and mechanical engineering shops for all of their hard work on getting the lab up and running on time!

Overlooking the sampling site at Amphitrite Point, located approximately 100 m from the Pacific Ocean. The mobile NETCARE laboratory is in the foreground with a second laboratory operated by Environment Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, and Metro Vancou
Overlooking the sampling site at Amphitrite Point, located approximately 100 m from the Pacific Ocean. The mobile NETCARE laboratory is in the foreground with a second laboratory operated by Environment Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, and Metro Vancou

The mobile laboratory housed a WIBS and UV-APS for measuring total and fluorescent bioparticle concentrations and size distributions (Alex and Yuri), a CCNc for measurements of aerosol hygroscopicity (Jacquie and Jenny), a CFDC for measurements of ice nucleating particles (Luis), and cascade impactors for aerosol particle collection (myself and Meng). Meng and I used some of these aerosol samples for offline measurements of ice nucleating particles by optical microscopy, while the remainder was used in fluorescence microscopy or ion chromatography analyses. Students and PIs from the universities of British Columbia, Toronto, and Denver were all on hand for part or all of the month, along with shorter stays by researchers from Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Some of the crew (from left to right): Jixiao (Yuri) Li , Alex Huffman, Ryan Mason, Allan Bertram (back); Meng Si, Jenny Wong, Jacquie Yakobi-Hancock (middle); Luis Ladino, Lisa Miller (front).
Some of the crew (from left to right): Jixiao (Yuri) Li , Alex Huffman, Ryan Mason, Allan Bertram (back); Meng Si, Jenny Wong, Jacquie Yakobi-Hancock (middle); Luis Ladino, Lisa Miller (front).

In addition to work at the site, Jacquie, Lisa, Elena and I collected sea surface microlayer samples from a couple of the nearby inlets and open ocean to establish if a connection existed between local ocean composition and what we were observing during atmospheric measurements. Although our dinghy was of questionable seaworthiness, it turned out to be very worthwhile to get out onto the water as Luis was able to use these samples to get very interesting data on the properties marine ice nucleating particles. 


Overall, the work at Amphitrite Point was very successful, providing information on marine and terrestrial ice nucleating particles, biological aerosols, CCN, and ion concentrations. The study has yielded three publications thus far (published or submitted), and no doubt more will be on the way. With the mobile laboratory still here on the west coast we hope to conduct similar measurements around the province in the near future.


-Ryan Mason, NETCARE Graduate Student

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