And again – head in the clouds, or clouds in my head?


The bottom of the cloud chamber where you can see some of the instruments.

by Wiebke Frey
You never realise how fast time passes by. 

All of a sudden, my two years in Melbourne were gone. 

It was a fabulous time and I am very grateful for all the support I got from the ARCCSS. Looking back, I’d like to point out the ECR videoconferences, which I find very unique: they offer a great chance to get connected, share experience and just talk about the little (and bigger) problems you encounter. I have never experienced or heard about such an approach before, and I am not sure if I will have a similar kind of meeting again soon.

So, where did life take me? From UoM (University of Melbourne) to UoM (University of Manchester). Or, to say it in the words of  my PhD supervisor, I am ‘leaving Australia in favour of the colonial mother country’. You guessed it; I have been greeted by pouring rain on the day of my arrival…

In my new role at UoM’s School of Earth, Atmospheric, and Environmental Sciences I will work in the Manchester Ice Cloud Chamber (MICC). MICC is a ten metre long fall tube with a diameter of one metre that is located inside three cold rooms, spanning three stories. It can be evacuated to 50hPa and cooled down to -50°C to simulate upper tropospheric conditions. It can also be connected to an aerosol chamber. 

This is what shall happen: secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles will be produced in the aerosol chamber and then be released into the cloud chamber. Here, we can study the cloud forming and freezing capability of the aerosol under controlled atmospheric conditions. 

I will get my data from cloud particle instruments – those that are also used on research aircraft. These instruments use lasers and detect the cloud particles either from the scattering or shadowing caused by the particles.

The results help to improve and test model parameterisations. This may also give me a chance to use some of my modelling skills that I acquired in Melbourne.

What’s left to say?

A big thank you to everyone who supported me in any way and made my stay in Melbourne so enjoyable! I am looking forward to seeing you again, maybe at one or another conference. Who knows? Perhaps some of you are planning to come to the ICCP (International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation) in Manchester next year?

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