Characterization of the atmospheric temperature and moisture conditions above Dome C (Antarctica) during austral summer and fall months

Claudio Tomasi, Boyan Petkov, Elena Benedetti, Vito Vitale, Andrea Pellegrini, Guillaume Dargaud, Lorenzo De Silvestri, Paolo Grigioni, Eric Fossat, William L. Roth, Luca Valenziano

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Two sets of radiosounding measurements were taken at Dome C (Antarctica) in December 2003 and January 2003 and 2004, using RS80-A, RS80-H, and RS90 Vaisala radiosondes, and from March to May 2005, employing the RS92 model. They were examined following accurate correction procedures to remove the main relative humidity dry bias and the temperature and humidity lag errors. The results showed that a strong cooling usually characterizes the thermal conditions of the whole troposphere from Deeember/January to April/May, with an average temperature decrease from 245 to 220 K at the ground, of around 10 K at upper tropospheric levels, and of more than 15 K in the lower stratosphere. The relative humidity data were found to be affected by dry bias of 5-10%, on average, for the RS80-A and RS80-H Humicap sensors and by smaller percentages for the other sensors. The mean monthly vertical profiles of absolute humidity were found to decrease sharply throughout the troposphere, especially within the first 3 km, and to diminish considerably passing from December/January to March/April/May with average values of precipitable water decreasing from 0.75 to 0.28 mm, median values from 0.69 to 0.25 mm, and first and third quartiles from 0.60 to 0.22 mm and from 0.87 to 0.34 mm, respectively. The results demonstrate that Dome C (where a permanent scientific station has been open for winter operations since austral winter 2005) is a site of comparable quality to the South Pole for both validation of satellite radiance measurements and astronomic observations in the infrared, submillimetric, and millimetric wavelength range, performed with large telescopes that cannot be carried on satellites. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD20305
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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