Summer to Winter Diurnal Variabilities of Temperature and Water Vapour in the Lowermost Troposphere as Observed by HAMSTRAD over Dome C, Antarctica

P. Ricaud, C. Genthon, P. Durand, J.-L. Attié, F. Carminati, G. Canut, J.-F. Vanacker, L. Moggio, Y. Courcoux, A. Pellegrini, T. Rose

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The HAMSTRAD (H2O Antarctica Microwave Stratospheric and Tropospheric Radiometers) microwave radiometer operating at 60 GHz (oxygen line, thus temperature) and 183 GHz (water vapour line) has been permanently deployed at the Dome C station, Concordia, Antarctica [75°06′S, 123°21′E, 3,233 m above mean sea level] in January 2010 to study long-term trends in tropospheric absolute humidity and temperature. The great sensitivity of the instrument in the lowermost troposphere helped to characterize the diurnal cycle of temperature and H2O from the austral summer (January 2010) to the winter (June 2010) seasons from heights of 10 to 200 m in the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The study has characterized the vertical resolution of the HAMSTRAD measurements: 10-20 m for temperature and 25-50 m for H2O. A strong diurnal cycle in temperature and H2O (although noisier) has been measured in summertime at 10 m, decreasing in amplitude with height, and phase-shifted by about 4 h above 50 m with a strong H2O-temperature correlation (>0.8) throughout the entire PBL. In autumn, whilst the diurnal cycle in temperature and H2O is less intense, a 12-h phase shift is observed above 30 m. In wintertime, a weak diurnal signal measured between 10 to 200 m is attributed to the methodology employed, which consists of monthly averaged data, and that combines air masses from different origins (sampling effect) and not to the imprint of the null solar irradiation. In situ sensors scanning the entire 24-h period, radiosondes launched at 2000 local solar time (LST) and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analyses at 0200, 0800, 1400 and 2000 LST agree very well with the HAMSTRAD diurnal cycles for temperature and relatively well for absolute humidity. For temperature, HAMSTRAD tends to be consistent with all the other datasets but shows a smoother vertical profile from 10 to 100 m compared to radiosondes and in-situ data, with ECMWF profiles even smoother than HAMSTRAD profiles, and particularly obvious when moving from summer to winter. For H2O, HAMSTRAD measures a much moister atmosphere compared to all the other datasets with a much weaker diurnal cycle at 10 m. Our study has helped characterize the time variation of the PBL at Dome C with a top around 200 m in summertime decreasing to 30 m in wintertime. In summer, from 2000 to 0600 LST a stable layer is observed, followed by a well-mixed layer the remaining time, while only a nocturnal stable layer remains in winter. In autumn, a daytime convective layer shallower than the nocturnal stable layer develops. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227 - 259
Number of pages33
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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