In this paper, we present recent field studies conducted by NASA's SMART-COMMIT (and ACHIEVE, to be operated in 2013) mobile laboratories, jointly with distributed ground-based networks (e.g., AERONET, http://aeronet.gsfc.nasa.gov/ and MPLNET, http://mplnet.gsfc.nasa.gov/) and other contributing instruments over northern Southeast Asia. These three mobile laboratories, collectively called SMARTLabs (cf. http://smartlabs.gsfc.nasa.gov/, Surface-based Mobile Atmospheric Research & Testbed Laboratorie. s) comprise a suite of surface remote sensing and in-situ instruments that are pivotal in providing high spectral and temporal measurements, complementing the collocated spatial observations from various Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites. A satellite-surface perspective and scientific findings, drawn from the BASE-ASIA (2006) field deployment as well as a series of ongoing 7-SEAS (2010-13) field activities over northern Southeast Asia are summarized, concerning (i) regional properties of aerosols from satellite and in-situ measurements, (ii) cloud properties from remote sensing and surface observations, (iii) vertical distribution of aerosols and clouds, and (iv) regional aerosol radiative effects and impact assessment. The aerosol burden over Southeast Asia in boreal spring, attributed to biomass burning, exhibits highly consistent spatial and temporal distribution patterns, with major variability arising from changes in the magnitude of the aerosol loading mediated by processes ranging from large-scale climate factors to diurnal meteorological events. Downwind from the source regions, the tightly coupled-aerosol-cloud system provides a unique, natural laboratory forfurther exploring the micro- and macro-scale relationships of the complex interactions. The climatic significance is presented through large-scale anti-correlations between aerosol and precipitation anomalies, showing spatial and seasonal variability, but their precise cause-and-effect relationships remain an open-ended question. To facilitate an improved understanding of the regional aerosol radiative effects, which continue to be one of the largest uncertainties in climate forcing, a joint international effort is required and anticipated to commence in springtime 2013 in northern SoutheastAsia.
- Southeast Asia