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Polar stratospheric clouds climatology over Dumont d'Urville between 1989 and 1993 and the influence of volcanic aerosols on their formation

Abstract : The first polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) climatology ever established from lidar data and relative to a specific site is presented here. It is based on lidar backscatter and depolarization measurements of PSCs carried out between 1989 and 1993 at Dumont d'Urville (66°S, 140°E), which is a primary station of the Network for Detection of Stratospheric Changes (NDSC). The climatology was subdivided based on the stratospheric sulphuric acid aerosol content (background aerosols in 1989–1991 and volcanic aerosols in 1992–1993 following the Mount Pinatubo eruption). PSCs were mainly observed in July and August. Very few water ice clouds (type II) were detected. Most of the PSCs tended to form around the peak in sulphuric acid aerosol, between 17 and 23 km in 1989–1991 and between 11 and 20 km in 1992–1993. This tendency suggests that sulphuric acid aerosols are very likely to act as condensation nuclei for PSCs. As shown by previous lidar studies [Browell et al, 1990], two type I subclasses were identified: depolarizing (nonspherical) particles (type Ia) and nondepolarizing (spherical) particles (type Ib). No type Ia PSCs were detected above the nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) saturation temperature, TNAT, lending support to the theory that NAT is the main component of type Ia PSCs. There was also no evidence of the existence of sulphuric acid tetrahydrate (SAT) in the data. Some type Ib PSCs were observed close to the frost point, showing that supersaturation with respect to NAT is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the existence of solid PSCs. No type Ib PSCs were clearly detected above TNAT in 1989–1991 whereas 18% of the PSCs seem to be found at temperatures above TNAT in 1992–1993. This difference might be linked to the HNO3 uptake by volcanic sulphuric acid particles starting at higher temperatures. The fraction of type Ia out of the total PSCs observations was lower in 1992–1993 than in 1989–1991. This difference was not found to be highly statistically significant.
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Christine David, Slimane Bekki, Sophie Godin, Gérard Mégie, M. P. Chipperfield. Polar stratospheric clouds climatology over Dumont d'Urville between 1989 and 1993 and the influence of volcanic aerosols on their formation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, American Geophysical Union, 1998, 103 (D17), pp.22163-22180. ⟨10.1029/98JD01692⟩. ⟨insu-03090207⟩

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